Former Guard Sentenced to Prison for Smuggling Cell Phones into Atlantic County Jail

A former guard at the Atlantic County Justice Facility has been sentenced to three years in state prison for smuggling cell phones into the jail. Gerald Oquendo, a 35-year-old resident of Mays Landing, pleaded guilty to an official misconduct charge late last year, and his sentencing took place on Tuesday.

According to the Atlantic County Prosecutor’s Office, this case involved a disturbing collaboration between Oquendo and two family members of an inmate. The family members, driven by greed, conspired with Oquendo to smuggle cell phones into the Atlantic County Justice Facility where the inmate was housed, in exchange for money.

The investigation, led by the Atlantic County Prosecutor’s Office’s Professional Standards Unit and the Atlantic County Justice Facility, uncovered recorded conversations between the inmate, the family members, and Oquendo discussing their illicit activities. Additionally, video surveillance footage captured Oquendo bringing an object to the inmate, further solidifying the evidence against him.

Atlantic County Prosecutor William Reynolds expressed his deep concern over Oquendo’s actions, stating, “The defendant, a public servant entrusted with the care and custody of inmates within the Atlantic County Justice Facility, jeopardized the safety and security of the staff and inmates when he violated his oath of office and smuggled cellular devices, creating the possibility that inmates could engage in criminal activity from inside the walls of an otherwise secure facility.”

As part of his sentence, Oquendo will be required to serve a minimum of two years in prison before becoming eligible for parole. Additionally, he will be prohibited from seeking future public employment, ensuring that he cannot abuse his position of authority again.

The successful prosecution of this case was made possible through the collaborative efforts of the Atlantic County Prosecutor’s Office, the Atlantic County Justice Facility, and the FBI’s Atlantic City office, which provided valuable assistance.

This shocking incident serves as a reminder of the importance of maintaining the integrity and security of correctional facilities. The Atlantic County Justice Facility will undoubtedly take steps to prevent similar incidents from occurring in the future, ensuring the safety of both staff and inmates.

While justice has been served in this case, it raises questions about the potential for similar misconduct in other correctional facilities. The authorities must remain vigilant in their efforts to root out corruption and maintain the highest standards of professionalism within the criminal justice system.


Author: CrimeDoor

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