Rikers Island Correction Officer Gets 3 Years, 5 Months For Smuggling Pot, Other Items

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — A Rikers Island correction officer was sentenced to three years and five months in prison Tuesday, after being convicted of smuggling drugs and other items into the jail.

Austin Romain was sentenced by Manhattan U.S. District Judge Robert W. Sweet, according to the U.S. Attorney’s office. He was convicted on Dec. 12 of last year.

“The sentencing of Austin Romain marks the latest step in our efforts to root out unlawful conduct at Rikers Island, by individuals and by the institution as a whole,” U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said in a news release. “Romain abused his position of authority as a corrections officer to become, in effect, a jailhouse drug dealer. Corruption at New York prisons, whether by individual officers like Romain or by the corrections system more broadly, is unacceptable and remains a top priority of this Office.”

Romain was charged in 2013 along with co-defendant Officer Khalif Phillips of smuggling marijuana, tobacco and scalpels into maximum security facilities and selling them to inmates.

Prosecutors said Romain would collect $300 an ounce for the marijuana from the inmates’ wives or girlfriends.

Phillips pleaded guilty last year and was sentenced to three years in prison.

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