This week, 17 people were arrested for their involvement in a contraband smuggling ring on Rikers Island. Two of those charged are Department of Correction officers, while a DOC cook and six inmates were also taken into custody for what the Bronx DA's office called a scheme to bring scalpels, drugs, tobacco and more into the jail facility in exchange for money.
In a statement, DA Darcel Clark said, "These alleged schemes fed the climate of danger and
fear that makes Rikers Island notorious for brutality, and they reveal the true scope of
corruption that goes far beyond its shoreline."
According to the DA, the alleged ringleader was Correction Officer Kevin McKoy, 31, who was assigned to the Anna M. Kross Center (AMKC).
"Aside from tarnishing his badge by taking bribes from inmates, Correction Officer Kevin McKoy allegedly smuggled in scalpels. Even after his fellow Correction Officer, Ray Calderon, was slashed on his face requiring 20 stitches and photos of his grisly wound were publicized, McKoy allegedly continued to bring in these weapons," Clark said.
McKoy is accused to have received "at least $10,000 for bringing in scalpels wrapped in duct tape to avoid metal detector, K2, (synthetic marijuana) and suboxone (opioid) strips to inmates," according to a press release.
The main conspiracy allegedly took place from September 12, 2015 to November 24, 2015. Inmates would call family members or friends and instruct them to give contraband and cash to McKoy, whom they referred to as “The Plug,” “Ticks-and-Fleas” and other nicknames, and McKoy would contact them to arrange pickup of the items. McKoy was arrested on November 24, 2015 at AMKC with seven scalpels tucked in a leg of his longjohns. Nine other scalpels were found in a search at his Brooklyn home, which McKoy admitted were also headed for the jail. McKoy made statements after his arrest that he had been bringing in contraband to inmates for money for about a year.
Eight civilians were also arrested. Department of Investigation Commission Mark Peters, whose office has previously recommended reforms to prevent smuggling, said, "It was like a corner drug operation, but far more lucrative."
DOC Commissioner Joseph Ponte told reporters that "starting Thursday a dedicated team will monitor inmates' phone calls, broader K-9 searches will be conducted and they'll expand phone-monitoring intel sharing with the Department of Investigation."