Austin Romain, Khalif Phillips Each Face 10 Years In Prison If Convicted

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Two correction officers are charged with dealing drugs and weapons inside Rikers Island.

Austin Romain and Khalif Phillips, both 31, were arrested Tuesday while they were at work.

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The officers smuggled marijuana, tobacco and scalpels into maximum security facilities and sold them to inmates, federal prosecutors said.

“As alleged, correction officers Austin Romain and Khalif Phillips had a duty to ensure the security and safety of the prisons and inmates in their care, but instead they compromised it in the name of personal profit by smuggling and aiding in the selling of drugs, scalpels, and other contraband,” stated Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara. “We will not tolerate misuse of authority by those entrusted with supervising incarcerated individuals and keeping them safe, but who instead choose to join them in unlawful activity.”

Investigators said the men worked independently, but are accused of running similar drug-smuggling operations, CBS 2 reported.

The men would call the inmates’ wives and girlfriends and arrange to pick up the contraband items from them, prosecutors said.

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They then charged the inmates a fee to deliver the items, which the inmates then sold to other prisoners, prosecutors said.

Romain and Phillips are each charged with one count of engaging in a conspiracy to distribute and possess with the intent to distribute a controlled substance and one count of distributing and possessing with the intent to distribute a controlled substance.

They each face 10 years in prison if convicted.

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