May 30, 2013
Contact: Erin Mulvey
Phone Number: (212) 337-3900
Correction Officer Convicted Of Drug Possession, Conspiracy, Bribery And Official Misconduct
(MANHATTAN, N.Y.) - Robert Whitfield, a Correction Officer with the New York City Department of Correction, was convicted yesterday, May 30 on charges of drug possession, conspiracy, bribery and official misconduct. The announcement was made by Brian R. Crowell, Special Agent in Charge of the New York Division, United States Drug Enforcement Administration and Bridget G. Brennan, New York City’s Special Narcotics Prosecutor.
Whitfield, 50, was convicted on all counts following a six-day jury trial before Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Bonnie G. Wittner. Sentencing is expected to take place on June 21.
Testimony and other evidence presented at trial proved that Whitfield, a veteran Correction Officer assigned to Rikers Island, promised to secure an inmate’s early release in exchange for $100,000 in cocaine. Whitfield claimed he could alter the inmate’s records by accessing a New York City Department of Correction computer.
Whitfield was arrested in the Inwood section of Manhattan at approximately 5:30 p.m. on April 5, 2011, shortly after his designated intermediary, Islime Duvivier, received three kilograms of (over 6.5 lbs.) from an undercover agent posing as the inmate’s cousin.
The arrest was the result of a long-term investigation by the Drug Enforcement (DEA) New York Division, the New York Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Strike Force and the New York City Department of (DOI).
During the trial, two inmates testified that Whitfield negotiated the bribe in a staff kitchen he oversaw at Rikers Island in early 2011. The inmates’ testimony was corroborated by recorded conversations, as well as phone records and cell site data related to Whitfield’s cell phone.
Testimony at the trial revealed that Whitfield approached several inmates at the jail, before he found one who agreed to the bribe plot. Unbeknownst to Whitfield, this inmate reported the incident to authorities.
The inmate and Whitfield agreed on code words to use in future communications. Subsequently, the undercover agent who posed as the inmate’s cousin spoke to Whitfield on the phone and, using these same code words, agreed to deliver the three kilograms of cocaine. Duvivier, the intermediary for Whitfield, also used these same code words.
At approximately 4:30 p.m. on April 5, 2011, the undercover agent met with Duvivier, at a prearranged location near the intersection of Broadway and Dyckman Street in Inwood. Duvivier accepted the three kilos from the undercover agent and was immediately placed under arrest. Whitfield’s car was spotted on Dyckman Street, just a few blocks away from the meeting place, and members of the DEA Strike Force and DOI investigators took him into custody.
This case was prosecuted by the Special Investigations Bureau of the Office of the Special Narcotics Prosecutor.
The DEA’s New York Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Strike Force initiated the investigation. The Strike Force is comprised of agents and officers of the DEA, the New York City Police Department, Immigration and Customs Enforcement - Homeland Security (HSI), the New York State Police, the U. S. Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation Division and the U.S. Marshals Service.