Cor­rec­tion of­fi­cer in­dicted for smug­gling fen­tanyl into prison

The Trentonian (Trenton, NJ) - - NEWS - By Tren­to­nian Staff

TREN­TON » A se­nior cor­rec­tion of­fi­cer at North­ern State Prison in Ne­wark has been in­dicted on charges that he smug­gled fen­tanyl and mar­i­juana to an in­mate in the prison in ex­change for money.

Roberto Reyes-Jack­son, 28, of Irv­ing­ton, was in­dicted Thurs­day by a state grand jury that charged him with fen­tanyl and mar­i­juana dis­tri­bu­tion, con­spir­acy, of­fi­cial mis­con­duct, and bribery in of­fi­cial mat­ters.

Reyes-Jack­son was sus­pended from his po­si­tion as a se­nior cor­rec­tion of­fi­cer as a re­sult of the al­le­ga­tions.

Ac­cord­ing to pros­e­cu­tors, between Septem­ber and De­cem­ber 2016, Reyes-Jack­son al­legedly smug­gled mul­ti­ple doses of a pow­der com­pound laced with fen­tanyl to an in­mate in the prison. The fen­tanyl was pack­aged like heroin in sin­gle-dose bags that had a “panda face” logo on them. Reyes-Jack­son also al­legedly smug­gled a small quan­tity of mar­i­juana to the in­mate.

The al­leged smug­gling came to light af­ter prison staff found a bag con­tain­ing mar­i­juana and two small bags con­tain­ing fen­tanyl in the in­mate’s cell in De­cem­ber 2016. A sub­se­quent search of the cell re­vealed ad­di­tional mar­i­juana and sus­pected heroin, which lab test­ing later re­vealed to be fen­tanyl.

Fur­ther in­ves­ti­ga­tion re­vealed that Reyes-Jack­son al­legedly ac­cepted bribes in ex­cess of $200 from the in­mate’s girl­friend in re­turn for smug­gling the drugs into prison. The in­mate al­legedly dis­trib­uted the drugs to other in­mates, who paid him by hav­ing friends or rel­a­tives out­side the prison wire money to his girl­friend. The in­mate and his girl­friend are not iden­ti­fied in the in­dict­ment.

Fen­tanyl is 50 times more po­tent than heroin: a dose as small as 2 to 3 mil­ligrams can be fa­tal.

Fen­tanyl has been re­spon­si­ble for a grow­ing death toll in New Jer­sey, where there were 417 fen­tanyl over­dose deaths in 2015, and ac­cord­ing to pre­lim­i­nary fig­ures, over 800 fen­tanyl deaths in 2016. Fen­tanyl is typ­i­cally mixed with heroin for sale on the street, or is sold in pow­der com­pounds or pills dis­guised as heroin or oxy­codone.

Fen­tanyl is now found in about 30 per­cent of the heroin spec­i­mens tested by the New Jer­sey State Po­lice foren­sic labs. Given the tiny size of a lethal dose, drug users are dy­ing be­cause deal­ers are care­less about how much fen­tanyl they use.

Roberto Reyes-Jack­son

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