BDN reports “York County corrections officers indicted on charges of smuggling drugs into jail. Three York County corrections officers and four former officers were indicted by the grand jury Thursday on charges of smuggling drugs into the jail, according to officials.
York County Sheriff Maurice Ouellette said in a statement that the three officers have been placed on leave and are under administrative review and the four former officers all resigned earlier this year. Read more HERE.
WGME TV Portland reports “Seven corrections officers in southern Maine are indicted by a York County Grand Jury. All of them are current or former jail guards at the York County Jail in Alfred.
York County Sheriff Maurice Ouellette talked openly about the indictments of the corrections officers, two inmates and a civilian. He says “These incidents occur all too frequently in the correctional setting.” He says the indictments stem from a single jail guard allegedly smuggling contraband in and out of the York County Jail for the two inmates. The sheriff ordered an investigation in February. He later turned over what they’d uncovered to the DA. Ouellette says “I want to assure all citizens that this is an isolated incident.
The Grand Jury indicted jail guard Steven Thomas, age 25, for trafficking prison contraband and conspiracy. The other guards were indicted for Official Oppression, meaning they looked the other way and didn’t report it. But Sheriff Ouellette says “The main case stems from one individual who actually got manipulated by an inmate.” View Video HERE.
WCSH TV Portland reported “Four of the officers have resigned. Three have been suspended with pay pending the outcome of their cases.
The investigation began in February after a cell phone picture of an inmate taken inside the jail showed up on social media. Cell phones are banned in the jail. The investigation also found at least one officer was involved in bringing drugs, marijuana and soboxone, in and out of the jail.
Two of the guards Connor Bogan and Steven Thomas are charged with Trafficking in Prison Contraband. The other guards are facing charges of Official Oppression. Two inmates and an outside accomplice were also indicted.” View video HERE.
Seacoastonline reports “Ouellette said Friday that in February of this year jail administrators learned of contraband being smuggled into the York County Jail, at the same time a law enforcement officer in mid-Maine observed a photograph on social media that appeared to be taken from inside the jail.
Two of the guards, Connor Bogan, 21, of Springvale, and Steven Thomas, 25, of Biddeford, were each indicted on a felony count of trafficking in prison contraband. Thomas also faces misdemeanor charges of official oppression and conspiracy. The other guards each face misdemeanor counts of official oppression.
The corrections officers indicted are all alleged to have assisted in some manner or were aware of illegal activity and failed to report it to a supervisor, Ouellette said. Oullette said that this case should not reflect poorly on “the majority of employees who come to work day in and day out to keep the citizens of York County safe.”
These reports beg several questions/comments:
How is it that William King, who is currently the chief deputy — the second-in-command — at the York County Sheriff’s Dept., former DEA, DOJ, OIG, ret. FBI agent, also the Maine State trainer in law enforcement and soon to be sheriff of the county, didn’t see this happening right under his nose?
Had this not been revealed on a social network in February, would anyone have been caught, indicted?
How does Sheriff Ouellette justify stating “”These incidents occur all too frequently in the correctional setting”, yet “this is an isolated incident?”
Sheriff Ouellette states “at the end of the day, we’re all human beings.” So are the inmates in the jail…and the people on the street…or in the courthouse.
Deputy King is Maine’s State law enforcement trainer. Who screens the character, integrity, honesty, trustworthiness of deputies? A few examples:
York County corrections officer accused of driving drunk. “While at the hospital, Willey refused to take a blood test, which results in an automatic license suspension, (Chief Deputy)King said. Willey is also suspected of being involved in a hit-and-run accident shortly before his vehicle was found off the road. Willey was summoned for operating under the influence but not arrested, according to King.” Isn’t this selective? Is he still on the job?
Corrections officer Roger Lanoie charged with operating after suspension of his driver’s license. “His license had been suspended for failing to pay a fine for a seat belt violation.” Is he privileged? Had he not had an accident would he still be operating without a license?
Deputy William King previously served 26 years in the U.S. Department of Justice. He began his federal career at the Drug Enforcement Administration and later transferred to the U. S. Department of Justice, Office of the Inspector General. He obviously was there when a complaint was filed against two USAGs. When contacted for his help, and with his expertise, should he have “looked the other way” just as the deputies in his department did? Is this not aiding and abetting obstruction of justice and official oppression?
Sheriff Ouellette hopes that this incident does not look poorly upon the sheriff’s department. The York County Sheriff’s Department has been in the dumps long before he became sheriff. There may be some decent human beings as deputies, however, abusive treatment and excessive force by deputies have gone unreported or covered up.
Connecting the dots between the York County Sheriffs, District Attorney’s Office, Maine’s Office of the Attorney General, The Maine Criminal Justice Academy and the U.S. District Court will be revealed as to whom is behind the York County Sheriff Department cover ups…but this is another story for another time. Stay tuned!