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BOP Guards Plead Guilty in Smuggling Ring at Closed Manhattan Lockup

On October 10, 2023, a former federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) guard at the now-shuttered Metropolitan Correctional Center (MCC) in Manhattan was sentenced for her role in a contraband-smuggling conspiracy. Prosecutors had already gotten guilty pleas from three former co-workers at the lockup, which was shut down due to deteriorating conditions in August 2021.

As PLN reported, Sharon Griffith-McKnight, then 35, was accused three months later of taking bribes from prisoners in exchange for smuggling contraband, along with fellow guards Perry Joyner and Mario Feliciano, both then 30. Another guard, Greg MacKenzie, then 35, was indicted in March 2022. [See: PLN, May 2022, p.62.] Griffith-McKnight pleaded guilty and was sentenced to four years of probation, including six months of home confinement. She also stipulated to having a sexual relationship with a prisoner from February 2020 to January 2021.

Earlier, on July 27, 2023, Feliciano pleaded guilty to honest services wire fraud for taking bribe payments via cash apps from October 2019 to April 2020. He is awaiting sentencing. Two days before that, on July 25, 2023, Joyner was sentenced to 43 months in prison, after he admitted in December 2022 to taking $77,894 in bribes to smuggle prisoners cellphones, cigarettes, alcohol and drugs, including oxycodone, alprazolam, suboxone, marijuana and K2.

MacKenzie was sentenced to 36 months in prison on February 8, 2023, after pleading guilty in September 2022 to lying to federal investigators about using a prepaid “burner” cellphone to secretly communicate with prisoner Deejay White, to whom the guard allegedly smuggled a firearm from the prisoner’s wife, Dawntiana White, in March 2020. See: United States v. MacKenzie, USDC (S.D.N.Y.), Case No. 22-cr-00166.

Dawntiana White was sentenced in August 2023 to two years in prison and three years of supervised release. Her husband was sentenced the following month to a 21-year term and five years of supervised release both for his role in the smuggling conspiracy and for the armed robbery charges that had landed him at MCC to await trial. See: United States v. White, USDC (S.D.N.Y.), Case No. 1:21-cr-00453.

Eight other prisoners were also swept up in the conspiracy. Donnell “Don P” Murray, 43, had 26 months added to his 20-year term for assault and firearm convictions. Tyrell “Rell” Sumpter, 28, had 20 months added to his term for a narcotics conviction. Markeen “Kingo” Jordan, 29, received a 39-month prison term for his role. Kevin “Sama” Crosby, 25, got 21 months. Virgilio “Jairo Taveras” Acevedo de los Santos, 44, got 35 months, and David “Santana” Valerio, 34, got 29 months, both terms followed by three years of supervised released. Still awaiting trial are Anthony “Harv” Ellison, 35, and Starlin “Chino” Nunez, 45. See: United States v. Joyner, USDC (S.D.N.Y.), Case No. 21-cr-00673.  

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