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Former Corrections Officer Sentenced to 29 Months in Rikers Island Smuggling Case

Court hears defendant smuggled cell phones and took payments for narcotics, accepting nearly $10,000 in bribes
NY Supreme Court, Brooklyn
New York Supreme Court, Brooklyn. Photo: Nigel Roberts for BK Reader.

A former New York City corrections officer was sentenced to 29 months’ imprisonment for accepting nearly $10,000 in bribe payments in exchange for smuggling contraband into Rikers Island.

Krystle Burrell, 36, of Lawrence, N.Y., was sentenced earlier today by United States District Judge Kiyo A. Matsumoto in federal court in Brooklyn.

Burrell was employed by the New York City Department of Corrections and worked as a correction officer at Rikers Island, according to a U.S. Justice Department news release.

Burrell accepted nearly $10,000 in bribes from co-conspirators on behalf of co-defendant Terrae Hinds in exchange for Burrell smuggling contraband into the Anna M. Kross Center on Rikers Island for Hinds, according to court documents and facts presented at today’s sentencing proceeding.

Burrell also accepted payments on behalf of Hinds for narcotics and other contraband so that Hinds could resell the contraband on Rikers Island.

After she pleaded guilty in federal court in September 2022 to bribery charges and while on bail pending sentencing, Burrell conspired with Hinds and others to smuggle contraband into the federal Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn where Hinds had been transferred and was being held on federal charges.

In March 2023, Burrell was charged with the additional crime of smuggling contraband into a federal prison. Burrell pleaded guilty to smuggling contraband into a federal detention facility and she was also sentenced today for this additional crime.

Hinds previously pleaded guilty to bribing Burrell and is currently awaiting sentencing.

“Krystle Burrell put her own interests above the safety of incarcerated individuals and other correction officers at Rikers Island by accepting payments for drugs and smuggling cell phones into the jail she was supposed to protect,” said Breon Peace, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York.

“Public corruption is especially harmful when it affects the safety and security of our city’s jails and today’s sentence demonstrates that correction officers face serious consequences for smuggling contraband into Rikers Island.”

“New York City Correction Officers’ most significant responsibility is to maintain order and safety in our City’s jails," added Jocelyn E. Strauber, Commissioner, New York City Department of Investigation (DOI). "By accepting bribes and smuggling contraband onto Rikers Island, this defendant endangered both the persons in custody, and fellow officers, that she was entrusted to protect. Her prison sentence sends a strong message that officers who misuse their positions of trust will be held accountable.”

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