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DA says health worker brought marijuana into prison complex

The eastern section of Rikers Island jail complex

The eastern section of Rikers Island jail complex in Queens on June 11, 2014. Photo Credit: AP / Bebeto Matthews

NEW YORK - A health worker on Rikers Island was caught bringing contraband tobacco and marijuana into the prison complex, and when he was stopped he acknowledged he'd done it before, according to a criminal complaint.

The complaint, made public Saturday by the Bronx district attorney's office, charged Richard Bustamante Quon, 42, with promoting prison contraband and official misconduct.

His arrest is part of an ongoing probe by the city's Department of Investigation into jails. Correction officials are trying to cut down on contraband, especially weapons, in part by tightening restrictions on the 300,000 people who visit Rikers inmates each year.

The complaint against Quon said marijuana and tobacco were found inside what appeared to be a bottle of lotion he was carrying. It said Quon also had two packs of Newport cigarettes.

The complaint says that when Quon was confronted, he said, "I knew what was in there but I only did it this time. OK, this is not the first time I've done it."

A call to Quon's attorney was not immediately returned. The district attorney's office said Quon pleaded not guilty at an arraignment.

Quon is a mental health clinician for Corizon Health Inc., the complaint said. Corizon is the contractor that provides medical care at Rikers.

A report in November by the Department of Investigation found porous security at Rikers. An undercover investigator dressed as a jail guard successfully smuggled in drugs, alcohol and a razor blade.

Department officials said that from July to April, 29 visitors were arrested for trying to smuggle weapons to inmates at Rikers.

Among the measures being considered are limiting contact to a hug and a kiss at the beginning and end of certain visits; denying visits by alleged gang members; and using glass dividers during some visits.


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