Feds: York woman among the indicted in phone-smuggling scheme at Dauphin County Prison
A York woman and a prison guard are among a group of people indicted and charged in federal court for their alleged roles in smuggling cellphones into Dauphin County Prison over a three-month period.
A federal grand jury on July 2 indicted Lizarah Matthews, 28, of York, on a felony conspiracy charge. She remains free, according to federal court records.
The accused also include Kyle Bower, 31, Danny Cruz, 42, and Aida Rosado, 60, all of Harrisburg, for their roles in the alleged conspiracy.
Bower was a Dauphin County Prison corrections officer during the time of the smuggling operation, which happened between October 2015 and January 2016, according to federal court records. His employment with the prison ended in May 2016, records state.
Bower accepted bribes to smuggle in phones, federal prosecutors allege.
Cruz was an inmate at the prison and Rosado is his mother, according to U.S. Attorney David Freed's office; Matthews was, at the time, the girlfriend of another inmate there.
The trio's joint indictment alleges Cruz negotiated bribe payments with prison staffers willing to smuggle in cellphones.
Outside the prison, Matthews — on behalf of her boyfriend, who is not named in the indictment — sent and received money through interstate Western Union and MoneyGram money transfers as payment for the phones, met with others outside the prison who also were involved in the plot and also transferred money and phones "to facilitate the smuggling (of phones) into the prison," the indictment states.
Rosado also met with people outside the prison involved in the smuggling plot, took money for the smuggling and transferred payments and cellphones to prison staff to smuggle inside, the indictment alleges.
Officer A: Specifically, Rosado gave phones to "Corrections Officer A," who smuggled the phones into Dauphin County Prison, according to her indictment.
Bower is Corrections Officer A, The York Dispatch confirmed with Dawn Clark, the U.S. attorney's spokesperson, on Tuesday.
Bower's court records allege he accepted cash bribes to smuggle cellphones into the prison, then gave them to Cruz.
The scheme went on for months and involved thousands of dollars in bribe money sent from as far away as Puerto Rico, the indictments allege.
Dauphin County Prison has a prison population of about 1,000 inmates, including federal criminal defendants awaiting trial, according to the indictments.
A phone message left for Matthews' attorney was not returned Tuesday.
Also indicted separately for allegedly conspiring to smuggle cellphones into Dauphin County Prison was Alice Martinez, 41, of Chambersburg, whose brother was a federal criminal defendant being housed there.
The case was investigated by the FBI with help from prison officials and the Dauphin County Criminal Investigation Division, according to Clark.
The maximum prison term for the crimes charged against the alleged co-conspirators is five years, according to Clark.
A former kitchen staff worker in the prison, Kamilah Lewis, 32, of Harrisburg, is also charged with smuggling cellphones to Dauphin County Prison inmates in April and May 2015, and taking money to do so.
— Reach senior crime reporter Liz Evans Scolforo at email@example.com or on Twitter at @LizScolforoYD.