PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Federal authorities arrested a corrections officer at an Oregon women’s prison Monday on charges that he smuggled heroin and methamphetamine to inmates.
Richard Steven Alberts II, 31, of Sherwood, has been on paid leave since June from his position as an officer at Coffee Creek Correctional Facility in Wilsonville, the Oregonian/OregonLive reported. He was placed on unpaid leave after his arrest.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Craig Gabriel said he conspired with another man to distribute drugs in the prison.
“The Oregon Department of Corrections maintains a stringent code of ethics which requires all employees to be honest, to be truthful and to obey the law,” spokeswoman Betty A. Bernt said in a statement Monday. “While we cannot speak to matters of active investigation or pending litigation, DOC partners with fellow law enforcement agencies in the investigations of serious staff misconduct.”
A co-defendant, Joseph Lucio Jimenez, 27, of Gresham, is in custody on an unrelated charge of being a felon in possession of a firearm. He is accused of supplying the drugs to Alberts.
According to investigators, Alberts obtained heroin from Jiminez in the in the parking lot of Legacy Emanuel Medical Center on June 3.
“The cost of any narcotic inside a correctional facility is much higher than the cost on the street and jeopardized the safety of inmates there,’’ Gabriel told U.S. Magistrate Judge John Jelderks.
Through his lawyer, Stephen Doyle, Alberts pleaded not guilty in U.S. District Court in Portland on Monday.
Alberts worked for the state corrections department at Coffee Creek since April 2017, the department said.
The FBI, Oregon State Police and Oregon Department of Corrections’ Office of Inspector General are investigating the case.