Prison Security: High-Tech Correction Officer Arrested for Smuggling Drugs and Cell Phones into Facility

Connecticut Correction Officer Arrested for Smuggling Drugs and Cell Phones into Prison

A Connecticut correction officer has been arrested for attempting to smuggle contraband, including drugs and cellular phones, into a correctional institution. State troopers charged Dezerae Ortiz, a 25-year-old correction officer from Manchester, with nine counts, including the conveyance of electronic wireless communications devices inside a correctional institution and illegal distribution of narcotics.

An internal investigation conducted by the Department of Correction revealed that Ortiz had been discovered conveying suspected narcotics into the MacDougall-Walker Correctional Institution in Suffield. Troopers from Troop H arrived at the prison at 11 p.m. on Thursday and conducted a search of Ortiz’s personal property. During the search, prohibited items such as cellular phones, charging equipment, and a SIM card activation kit were discovered, along with items consistent in appearance with narcotics.

Ortiz has been employed by the Department of Correction since April 2022. Commissioner Angel Quiros expressed his disappointment and outrage at Ortiz’s actions, stating that the department has “zero tolerance” for staff conveying contraband into its facilities. Quiros also commended the upstanding staff members who uncovered the smuggling plan before it could be carried out.

Ortiz has been released on $20,000 bond and is scheduled to appear in Hartford Superior Court for arraignment on October 27.

This incident highlights the ongoing challenges faced by correctional facilities in preventing the introduction of contraband. The use of technology, such as cell phones, inside prisons poses significant security risks and can facilitate criminal activities. Authorities must remain vigilant in their efforts to detect and prevent such smuggling attempts to maintain the safety and integrity of correctional institutions.

As technology continues to advance, it becomes increasingly important for correctional facilities to implement robust security measures to counteract attempts at smuggling contraband. This case serves as a reminder of the need for ongoing training, surveillance, and cooperation between correctional staff and law enforcement agencies to ensure the effective operation of our prison systems.

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