Guards accused of taking bribes from inmates at federal prison in Virginia

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Guards accused of taking bribes from inmates at federal prison in Virginia


Guards at a federal prison in Petersburg, Va. were bribed by inmates to allow drugs, cigarettes and cellphones into the facility and allow a gambling ring to operate there, prosecutors allege in an indictment unsealed in federal court Friday.

Two guards, two inmates and two associates of inmates were charged with bribery-related crimes in the indictment in federal court in Richmond. Not long after arriving at the prison in 2014, according to prosecutors, Dontay Cox recruited his mother and girlfriend to bribe guards who would then smuggle in contraband for the inmate to use or sell. Another inmate is accused of helping facilitate the bribes.

The scheme ended in the summer of 2019, prosecutors say, when one of the guards was transferred to a prison in North Carolina and Cox was caught attempting to bribe a different correctional officer. According to the indictment, after promising he could triple that guard’s salary, Cox had another inmate give the guard a cellphone and an associate outside the prison send the guard over $2,000.

The two charged guards collectively were paid at least $30,000 by Cox and his associates, prosecutors alleged.

The guards, along with the inmates, face decades in prison if convicted. Cox’s mother and girlfriend could go to prison for up to five years if they are found guilty.

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