Federal prison guard charged with sneaking in items for inmates and taking bribes

A guard at the Federal Correctional Institution in Miami is accused of accepting thousands of dollars in bribes from inmates in exchange for sneaking in cellular phones, cigarettes and other contraband for them, authorities said.

Victor Manuel DeJesus Jr., 47, of Miami-Dade County, appeared before a magistrate judge for the first time Friday on charges of conspiring to commit bribery and related counts. Also charged in the scheme: inmates Gregory Bart Nation and Jose Enrique Mejias, who are both serving time for drug convictions.

DeJesus, the corrections officer, conspired with the two inmates to facilitate “orders” for inmates from December 2018 to September 2019, according to the indictment.

Nation and Mejias “encouraged inmates” to “place orders for the introduction of prohibited items, such as cellular telephones, SIM cards, cigarettes, and cellular telephone accessories,” the indictment said. “Orders were sent to Nation, who communicated directly with DeJesus to coordinate the delivery of payment and contraband to DeJesus.”

Court records show there were at least six different transactions totaling just under $10,000.

The money was deposited in DeJesus’ personal account, prosecutors said.

“In exchange for these bribe payments, the indictment alleges DeJesus used his official position to bring prohibited items into the prison,” they said in a news release.

If convicted, DeJesus could face several years in prison.

Carli Teproff grew up in Northeast Miami-Dade and graduated from Florida International University in 2003. She became a full-time reporter for the Miami Herald in 2005 and now covers breaking news.