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Pennsylvania Jail Guards Accused of Smuggling, Assaulting Mentally Ill Prisoners

by Jo Ellen Nott

Three guards at the Beaver County Jail in western Pennsylvania were hit with contraband charges in May 2022 after allegedly taking Cash App transfers from the families of prisoners under their supervision to smuggle marijuana, tobacco and suboxone into the lockup. 

Using search warrants and the results of positive narcotic tests, police were able to trace the smuggled substances to guards Erin Huff, Richard Suman, Jr. and Raphael Abercrombie. All three now face felony charges of introducing contraband/controlled substances, as well as criminal use of a communication facility, after incriminating evidence was found on their smart phones.

Huff and Suman are also charged with the manufacture, delivery, or possession with intent to manufacture or deliver a controlled substance, as well as obstructing the administration of the law or other governmental functions. 

Abercrombie allegedly used a Cash App account set up in his wife’s name to collect bribes for bringing tobacco into the jail while on duty. Lisa Abercrombie was reportedly unaware of the account and did not know her husband was trafficking tobacco. He faces a misdemeanor charge of obstructing the administration of law or other governmental functions. 

Abercrombie, who went by the nickname “Pudgy” when he was and was a star running back in western Pennsylvania high school football, had a previous brush with the law in 2009, when he was charged with criminal solicitation to commit prostitution, unlawful contact with a minor, indecent assault, and corruption of a minor while working as a teacher’s aide with special education students. 

Also in May 2022, a Beaver County Jail prisoner contacted local media to report he witnessed a guard “brutally assault” another prisoner in the Special Needs Unit by striking him “with at least 16 close-fisted blows to the head and face” the previous March 27, 2022. The guard, who was not named in media reports, then allegedly made verbal threats against witnesses, several of whom then filed formal grievances with jail administrators. The prisoner said they were told there was no video recording of the incident, noting that security measures at the jail are “extremely deficient.”

As of May 2, 2022, no charges had been filed in that alleged assault.

Sources:  Beaver County Times, WPXI

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