A 43-year-old former corrections officer at Richard J. Donovan Correctional Facility, was sentenced in federal court on Thursday to 37 months in prison for smuggling illegal narcotics and contraband into state prison. 

Anibal Navarro of Chula Vista pleaded guilty and admitted to being involved in a network of 12 individuals both inside and outside of prison that smuggled methamphetamine, heroin, marijuana, and cell phones. Navarro was paid up to $2,000 for each transaction. 

The U.S. Attorney’s office reported the other defendants have pleaded guilty and have been sentenced. Prison inmate, Martin Gomez, was Navarro's co-conspirator who organized and directed the network from his cell in California state prisons in San Diego and Los Angeles. 

“Corrections Officers are charged with the responsibility of keeping the public, inmates, and other prison staff safe,” said U.S. Attorney Randy Grossman. “Former Officer Navarro personally profited from creating a dangerous environment in the prison by smuggling in extremely harmful and addictive narcotics. Additionally, cell phones inside a prison allow inmates to coordinate other illegal acts, like smuggling drugs, fraud, and even violence.  Today’s sentence demonstrates that the significant consequences far outweigh any financial gain for those who abuse their positions of trust.”

According to prosecutors, Gomez arranged for individuals outside of prison to smuggle contraband into Donovan prison and deliver drugs and cell phones to various inmates through Navarro. Gomez directed those inmates to receive the contraband and deliver it to still other inmates within the prison.

Navarro was approached by Gomez as an inmate at Donovan and offered an avenue to make extra money. Gomez continued to lead the conspiracy for over two years, even after he was transferred out of Donovan to another prison.

Over 500 grams of methamphetamine, heroin, cell phones, and other contraband were smuggled into Donovan through Navarro at Gomez’s direction while he was incarcerated elsewhere.

The FBI encourages the public to report allegations of public corruption to our hotline at (877) NO-BRIBE (662-7423).

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