Two Rikers Island correction officers admitted to taking thousands of dollars in bribe money in exchange for smuggling goods for inmates, prosecutors announced Tuesday.
Lawrence, New York resident Krystyle Burrell, 35, pleaded guilty to bribery on Sept. 20, admitting to taking nearly $10,000 in bribe
payments in exchange for smuggling contraband into Rikers Island Jamaica, Queens resident Katrina Patterson, 31, previously admitted to accepting $34,000 in bribes on Aug. 16.
Both Burrell and Patterson were employed by the New York City Department of Corrections (DOC) as correction officers on Rikers Island.
“The defendants threw in their lot with Bloods gang members and betrayed their sworn duty to maintain the safety of incarcerated individuals and other correction officers at Rikers Island by smuggling cell phones and drugs into the jail,” stated United States Attorney Breon Peace. “This Office and our law enforcement partners are committed to rooting out corruption at Rikers Island.”
According to court documents, Patterson accepted at least $34,090 in bribes from fro co-conspirators on behalf of Michael Ross, who is incarcerated at the Robert N. Davoren Center on Rikers Island. Ross, who was incarcerated on unrelated offenses, arranged for the bribes to be sent to Patterson in exchange for her smuggling goods into the prison. DOC personnel subsequently located narcotics and cell phones in Ross’s cell.
Law enforcement recovered Patterson’s text messages, which include messages where a co-conspirator told Patterson that some of the contraband would be “4 black joints in 1 paper.” Patterson then replied, “it better be wrapped so many times I don’t want to smell it.”
Court documents say that Burrell accepted $9,780 in bribe payments to smuggle contraband into the Anna M. Kross Center on Rikers Island for Terrae Hinds, which facilitated Hinds’ contraband smuggling business and permitted Hinds and others to violate DOC regulations. Hinds, who was incarcerated on unrelated charges, arranged the bribes to Burrell in exchange for at least two unauthorized cell phones, Hinds’ sale of narcotics and other contraband items at the Anna M. Kross Center.
“These two Correction Officers took bribes in return for smuggling contraband to inmates, crimes that risked the safety and security of the jails and willfully circumvented Correction Department regulations,” DOI Commissioner Jocelyn E. Strauber said. “These violations of their duty carry serious consequences, including termination from their City employment. DOI and our law enforcement partners will continue to target contraband smuggling and other misconduct that destabilizes the City’s jails.”
“When correction officers betray their oath to serve and protect, the public is put at risk and the entire law enforcement community is tarnished,” stated NYPD Commissioner Keechant L. Sewell. “We have zero tolerance for such misconduct. With today’s guilty plea, Ms. Burrell joins Ms. Patterson in publicly acknowledging that their actions were immoral, unethical, and without integrity – diametrically opposed to the core requirements of our profession. I commend all of our partners for their dedication to uncovering and eradicating corruption in all of its forms.”
Burrell faces up to 10 years in prison while Patterson faces up to five years in prison. Ross, who is a member of the Bloods gang, also pleaded guilty to a bribery offense and is awaiting sentencing. Charges against Hinds are currently pending.