Several county corrections officers, employees charged with bribery, smuggling contraband

Several Westchester County correction officers and civilian employees were charged Thursday with accepting bribes and smuggling contraband into the Westchester County Jail over a three-year period.

Westchester County District Attorney Mimi Rocah, along with Westchester County Department of Correction Commissioner Joseph K. Spano, said five employees at the Westchester County Jail in Valhalla were arrested on June 11 and arraigned Thursday before Judge Mark Rubeo in Mount Pleasant Justice Court.

County correction officers Peter Cumberbatch, 39, of New Rochelle; Shakia Smythe, 32, of Peekskill; and Wilfredo Gonzague, 36, of Briarcliff Manor were all charged with third-degree bribe receiving and second-degree promoting prison contraband.

Cumberbatch allegedly accepted an $800 payment from an associate of an incarcerated person to smuggle contraband into the jail in March 2023. Smythe allegedly accepted multiple payments, totaling more than $500, to smuggle contraband into the jail between June and August 2022; and Gonzague allegedly received over $2,000 to smuggle contraband into the jail between September 2022 and February 2023.

Gonzague was terminated from the county Department of Correction on Feb. 7, 2023. Cumberbatch and Smythe await termination hearings following their arrests.

Additionally, Sadari Holt, 30, of the Bronx and Shardae Moore, 35, of Yonkers, two former employees of a county-contracted commissary vendor, were also charged with third-degree bribe receiving.

Holt allegedly received over $1,500 from associates of two incarcerated individuals between December 2021 and April 2022 and was also charged with second-degree promoting prison contraband. Moore allegedly received a $500 payment from an associate of an inmate in December 2023. Holt and Moore both had their security clearance revoked following the incidents.

“These defendants put their own interests above the safety of incarcerated individuals, employees, civilians, and other correction officers," Rocah said. "Our jails become less safe when correction officers and others in position of public trust accept bribes to smuggle in contraband. We commend the Westchester County Department of Correction for working with my Office to ensure these individuals face serious consequences.”

Another civilian employee, Sean Rogers, 40, of Mount Vernon, a jailer at the Mount Vernon Police Department Cell Block, was arraigned earlier in June for smuggling what is believed to be cannabis to inmates. He was charged with second-degree promoting prison contraband on June 3 by Judge Peter St. George Davis and is expected back in Mount Vernon City Court on July 9

This article originally appeared on Rockland/Westchester Journal News: Corrections officers, employees face bribery, contraband charges.