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Rikers Island officers accused of smuggling drugs into jail

Posted at 12:20 PM, Jul 29, 2014
and last updated 2014-07-29 12:37:43-04

NEW YORK (PIX11) — Three corrections officers, current and former, and an inmate’s girlfriend are accused of smuggling drugs into a New York City jail in exchange for cash, investigators said Tuesday.

Rikers Island Correction Officers Steven Dominguez and Divine Rahming were originally arrested June 23 for alleged cocaine possession.

Investigators on Tuesday expanded the charges, accusing them of trafficking narcotics inside Rikers Island, the city’s main jail complex housing some 11,000 inmates.

Dominguez allegedly met with an undercover DEA agent in June to strike a deal to smuggle drugs, including cocaine and the prescription painkiller oxycodone, into the jail, the Office of the Special Narcotics Prosecutor for the City of New York said.

During their discussion, Dominguez allegedly told the undercover agent that he “had a badge and a gun.”

Four days later, Dominguez allegedly delivered a bag of what he thought was cocaine to the agent. It’s then that Dominguez offered to bring a colleague into the scheme, prosecutors said.

So five days later, Dominguez along with Correction Officer Divine Rahming met with the undercover agent in Queens, prosecutors said. Another five days passed and the pair was arrested in a Bronx parking lot on suspicion of drug possession, including eight ounces of cocaine and marijuana wrapped in foil.

Also named in the indictment are inmate George Ramos and his girlfriend Yasel Suarez, who prosecutors say met with an undercover agent to receive what she thought were oxycodone pills. She then allegedly delivered the painkiller placebos to Dominguez, officials said.

Suarez was arrested Monday and ordered held without bail. Her boyfriend, Ramos, is serving time for unrelated charges and is scheduled to be arraigned Tuesday.

In a similar but separate scheme, former corrections officer Deleon Gifth was arrested for allegedly smuggling oxycodone pills to an inmate in exchange for $500 cash.

The alleged crime — unrelated to the smuggling operation alleged of Dominguez and Rahming — happened in February, officials said. Gifth resigned from the Corrections Department in April.

Investigators said the arrests were made after a five-month wiretap investigation in which the suspects allegedly discussed their plans and pending deals.