Recorded on a prison surveillance camera providing inmates with contraband in exchange for cash payments, a Florida prison guard was arrested this week and charged with receipt of a bribe by a public official. While accepting cash and drugs to deliver for a federal inmate in another video, the correctional officer was immediately apprehended by the FBI and an undercover agent who recorded the illicit transaction.
In June, an unidentified federal inmate met with Bureau of Prison (BOP) and Justice Department investigators to discuss a correctional officer at the Coleman Federal Correctional Complex named Albert Harris who allegedly asked the inmate to introduce him to a cocaine supplier. According to the inmate, Harris wanted to purchase kilograms of cocaine on a long-term basis while intending to sell the product in neighborhoods throughout Orlando, Florida.
BOP investigators later found a second inmate at the penitentiary who was bribing Harris with cash payments in exchange for contraband. On June 16, surveillance video captured Harris providing several packs of cigarettes to the second inmate who immediately hid the contraband in his own pants. After receiving a pound of loose tobacco from Harris a week later, the second inmate arranged for an associate to send Harris $1,200 via a Western Union money transfer as a bribe payment.
In July, BOP investigators located a third inmate with no known association to the previous inmates who agreed to pay Harris a $2,000 bribe in exchange for sheets of paper laced with K2/Spice (synthetic marijuana) smuggled into the prison. Although Harris met with the third inmate’s associate, he left without the drugs because the associate could not afford the bribe.
After obtaining a subpoena for Harris’ cellphone records, investigators confirmed the inmates’ stories and convinced the second inmate to wear a wire while meeting with Harris again. During these meetings, Harris was secretly recorded while agreeing to smuggle 200 Suboxone strips into the prison in exchange for $5,000 in cash.
On Tuesday, Harris met with an undercover FBI agent pretending to be the inmate’s associate. Unbeknownst to Harris, the undercover agent’s car was equipped with covert audio and visual recording devices.
After entering the agent’s car, Harris accepted the cash and Schedule III drugs while verbally confirming that he intended to deliver the drugs to the inmate on Thursday. As law enforcement officers surrounded the vehicle, Harris reportedly attempted to toss the money and narcotics back to the undercover agent.
Following his arrest, Harris waived his rights and confessed to accepting the $5,000 cash bribe and $1,200 Western Union payment in exchange for smuggling drugs and contraband into prison. If convicted, Harris could face up to 15 years in federal prison.