Philadelphia corrections officer helped inmate smuggle drugs into prison to sell, prosecutors say

A Philadelphia corrections officer is facing charges after prosecutors said he helped an inmate smuggle nearly $70,000 worth of illegal substances into a Philadelphia prison in exchange for money. 

Acting United States Attorney Jennifer Arbittier Williams on Friday said 33-year-old Haneef Lawton has been charged with bribery and conspiring to distribute narcotics and cell phones in a contraband smuggling scheme at the Philadelphia Industrial Correctional Center (PICC). 

Lawton's co-conspirator Kernard Murray, a 36-year-old inmate, and his girlfriend Charene Stallings, 42, were also charged, according to a Friday morning release. 

Prosecutors said Lawton agreed on multiple occasions to smuggle drugs into the prison for Murray to sell to other inmates in exchange for roughly $11,500. Murray and Stallings are alleged to have used CashApp to pay Lawton, and accepted cash or peer-to-peer payment methods from inmates for drug purchases.

"This alleged conspiracy to smuggle in dangerous contraband undermined daily order at PICC, posing a threat to both staff and inmates and putting lives at risk," Michael J. Driscoll, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI's Philadelphia Division said. 

"Shutting down such a bribery scheme underscores the FBI's commitment to go after corruption wherever we may find it festering."

If convicted, Lawton and Murray face a maximum possible sentence of 45 years’ imprisonment, 3 years of supervised release, and a $2 million fine. 

Stallings faces those same penalties and an additional potential mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years to life imprisonment, 5 years supervised release, and a $10,000,000 fine.



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