MIAMI-DADE COUNTY, Fla. - A Miami-Dade correctional officer and his wife have been arrested for smuggling contraband into the Metro West Detention Center, Miami-Dade County State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle announced Thursday.
Officer Gary West Alford, 23, and his wife, Shantica Anastacia Alford, were arrested following a joint investigation by the Miami-Dade State Attorney's Office, the Miami-Dade Police Department and the Miami-Dade Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation Internal Affairs Bureau.
According to a Miami-Dade County State Attorney's Office news release, the couple received payments to bring various contraband items into the jail.
Gary Alford is charged with seven counts of unlawful compensation or reward for official behavior, six counts of introduction of contraband into a county detention facility and one count of conspiracy.
His wife is charged with six counts of introduction of contraband into a county detention facility and one count of conspiracy.
All charges are felonies.
According to the news release, the couple met with an undercover Miami-Dade police detective to arrange payment via a burner phone and a mobile app in exchange for bringing cellphones and food into the jail.
The Alfords were given cash for their illegal activities, authorities said.
"Smuggling contraband into a jail facility can endanger the life of every correctional officer and inmate, while adding to the potential criminal activity of individuals already removed from our streets," Fernandez Rundle said in a statement. "This law enforcement partnership with the Miami-Dade Police Department and the Miami-Dade Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation has brought to justice individuals who sought to use an official government position for personal profit."
Miami-Dade Corrections and Rehabilitation Department spokesman Juan Diasgranados also released a statement Thursday, saying the department was "firmly committed to providing a safe and secure environment for our staff and inmates."
"We are saddened that the actions of one employee could tarnish the good work of the proud men and women of MDCR who dedicate their lives to ensuring the safety of the public," he said. "MDCR takes allegations of employee misconduct seriously and this arrest should send a strong message that employees involved in these types of crimes will not be tolerated and will be pursued to the fullest extent of the law."
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