It's prison guards gone wild this week, with 16 going down in one Florida sting alone, and one in New York City busted with a half-pound of smack. A crooked Texas border town cop cops a plea, too. Let's get to it:
In Belle Glade, Florida, 16 Florida state prison guards were among 22 people arrested February 11 in a two-year FBI undercover sting targeting drug smuggling into two Florida prisons. Eleven of the guards worked at the Glades Correctional Institution in Belle Glade. They are charged with attempting to possess cocaine with intent to distribute. The arrests went down after FBI undercover agents told guards they were members of a drug trafficking group and the guards agreed to use their positions to help transport multi-kilo cocaine loads from warehouses in Miami to West Palm Beach. The guards were allegedly paid a total of $145,000 in bribes and transported cocaine on at least nine occasions. Five other guards at Glades and one from South Bay Correctional Facility are charged with bribery for smuggling non-drug contraband into the prisons.
In New York City, a New York City prison guard was arrested Monday after he was stopped for running a red light and police found eight ounces of heroin in his car. Although eight ounces of heroin is by no means a personal use amount, Marco Villacris, 46, is charged only with possession of a controlled substance and two traffic infractions. Villacris has been a guard at Rikers Island since joining the city's Department of Corrections in August 2008. He will be fired, the department said.
In Laredo, Texas, a Laredo police officer pleaded guilty Tuesday to escorting cars he believed were loaded with cocaine through the city. Pedro Martinez III pleaded guilty to one federal count of conspiring to possess with intent to distribute cocaine. Martinez admitted meeting with an undercover FBI officer posing as a drug dealer and agreeing to escort two loads of cocaine through town, including one while he was in uniform and driving a marked police vehicle. He faces a mandatory minimum 10 years in prison and up to life. A sentencing date has not yet been set.