Corrections officer who smuggled drugs into Coffee Creek pleads guilty
A former corrections officer who smuggled heroin, methamphetamine and OxyContin pills into Coffee Creek Correctional Facility pleaded guilty in federal court Monday, according to an Oregon Department of Corrections news release.
Sherwood resident Richard Steven Alberts II accepted a charge of conspiracy to distribute controlled substances and will be sentenced in February. He also pleaded guilty to a charge of first-degree custodial sexual misconduct, for which he will receive probation. The Spokesman reported last December that Alberts had been indicted.
"This corrections officer selfishly abused his position of trust and in doing so, endangered the lives of vulnerable inmates fighting for their own sobriety," U.S. Attorney Billy J. Williams said in the news release. "Instead of protecting the inmates, he exploited them. The excellent investigative work of the Oregon Department of Corrections, the Oregon State Police, and the FBI now ensures that a man who once guarded inmates will become one himself."
The former corrections officer maintained a sexual relationship with a Coffee Creek adult in custody (AIC) and used the drugs as a way to foster the relationship, the news release stated. The court determined that Alberts knew the drugs were used for distribution, not the AIC's personal use, and he also smuggled cell phones into the prison.
Court records indicated that Alberts received heroin from co-defendant Joseph Jimenez at a parking lot in Portland and provided the heroin to the AIC the next day. An Oregon Department of Corrections investigator seized over six grams of heroin and a small amount of methamphetamine a few days later.
Alberts was placed on administrative leave following an investigation, which was conducted by the Oregon Department of Corrections, the Oregon State Police and FBI. Craig Gabriel and Scott Bradford, assistant U.S. attorneys for the District of Oregon, prosecuted the case.
"Alberts abused his position of power over the Coffee Creek inmates with the trafficking of meth and heroin," said Renn Cannon, special agent in charge of the FBI in Oregon, in the release. "Instead of ensuring a safe environment for these women as he should have been, he exploited addiction and targeted a vulnerable population for his own gain. We can't let such behavior stand."
DOC Director Colette S. Peters said the department began an investigation and contacted state and federal law enforcement immediately after receiving a tip about Alberts' transgressions.
"The Oregon Department of Corrections is committed to preventing sexual activity involving employees and the people in our care and custody; and take decisive action when allegations are brought forward," she said in the release.
The legal parties involved are recommending a sentence of 12 months and one day followed by three years of supervised release if Alberts demonstrates that he's accepted responsibility for his actions. Alberts faced a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison, three years of supervised release and a fine of $1 million.
Alberts also agreed to resign from the ODOC and decertify as a law enforcement officer with the Oregon Department of Public Safety Standards and Training. For the custodial sexual misconduct charge, which was filed by the Washington County District Attorney's Office, the recommended sentence was three years probation, participation in an evaluation and possible sex treatment.
The Spokesman could not reach Coffee Creek administration prior to publication.
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