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Essex County Corrections Officer Gets 18 Months for Accepting Cash Bribes

Newark New Jersey

An Essex County corrections officer was sentenced today to 18 months in prison for his involvement in a scheme to smuggle marijuana, cell phones and tobacco into the Essex County Correctional Facility, a federal pretrial detention facility, in exchange for cash bribe payments, U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman announced.

Stephon Solomon, 27, of Irvington, New Jersey, previously pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Mary L. Cooper in Trenton federal court to an information charging him with one count of conspiring to commit extortion under color of official right. Judge Cooper imposed the sentence today in Trenton federal court.    

According to the documents filed in this and other cases and statements made in court:

On multiple occasions between October 2013 and May 2014, Solomon, a corrections officer at the Essex County Correctional Facility, smuggled contraband – including cell phones, tobacco, and marijuana – to Quasim Nichols, 29, a federal pretrial detainee, in exchange for cash bribes.

Darsell Davis, 29, and Dwayne Harper, 30, friends of Nichols, aided in the smuggling scheme by collecting the contraband to be smuggled into the facility. Solomon received the contraband and cash bribes from Davis and then smuggled the contraband to Nichols, who ultimately sold some of the marijuana and cell phones to other inmates. The inmates purchasing marijuana and cell phones from Nichols had their friends and family pay for the items by sending Western Union money transfers to Nichols, who enlisted Davis and others to retrieve those payments for him.  

In addition to the prison term, Judge Cooper sentenced Solomon to three years of supervised release.