NORRISTOWN — A former corrections officer at the Montgomery County Correctional Facility is headed to state prison after he admitted to smuggling contraband, including controlled substances, into the Lower Providence Township institution during a conspiracy with two inmates.
Mustafa Saeed Robinson, 38, formerly of the 800 block of Noble Street, Norristown, was sentenced in county court to 2 to 4 years in a state correctional facility after he pleaded guilty to felony charges of contraband — providing controlled substances to inmates — and conspiracy in connection with incidents that occurred at the jail between October 2020 and January 2021.
Judge Thomas P. Rogers imposed the sentence as part of a plea agreement.
“He admitted to bringing drugs into the prison on multiple occasions. He was working with two inmates in order to bring the drugs into the prison and he was being paid by them to do that,” said Assistant District Attorney Lindsey T. Mills, explaining the nature of Robinson’s admission. “He was in a position of trust in society to keep the prison running smoothly and obviously having contraband at the prison is a huge problem.”
The plea agreement was reached after officials said Robinson, who had no prior criminal record, cooperated fully when confronted by detectives and accepted responsibility for his conduct. Robinson could have faced up to 40 years in prison had he been convicted at a trial of the charges.
“Mr. Robinson, when he was confronted by law enforcement officials, gave a statement right away, before he ever even obtained a lawyer, and he tried to make right on the wrong he had done right from the get-go,” said defense lawyer Thomas C. Egan III.
“Mr. Robinson’s case is sad,” Egan added. “He was working as a prison guard, he was doing all the right things but unfortunately, our county pays the prison guards really poorly and it led to the temptation of Mr. Robinson to be able to make some extra money to support his struggling family and that’s why he engaged in this criminal conduct.”
Egan said Robinson has great remorse.
“He’s remorseful on a couple of different fronts,” Egan said. “He knows he betrayed the people at the prison that he trusted very much and with whom he liked working. He’s also remorseful about the impact it’s going to have on his family because, for the short-sightedness of trying to get some extra money, now he’s out of being able to earn any money for them for a couple of years and the short-sightedness has hurt him and the family in the long run.”
Specifically, Robinson admitted to smuggling Suboxone — a prescription medication used to treat addiction, marijuana, and K2, which is synthetic marijuana, an Apple watch and power cord, all considered contraband under jailhouse regulations, into the Eagleville Road facility on behalf of two inmates, Kevin “Cash” Harley and Yasin Ikeen Lowman, who were cellmates, according to testimony.
Lowman, 27, and Harley, 28, are awaiting trial on charges related to the conspiracy.
Prosecutors alleged Robinson, who Harley and Lowman referred to as “Main Man,” met with relatives and friends of the inmates to acquire the contraband and then secretly took the items into the jail. Robinson was paid by the inmates via a cash app, according to testimony.
Under the terms of the plea agreement, Robinson is eligible for the state Department of Corrections’ Recidivism Risk Reduction Incentive program, commonly referred to as “Triple R-I,” which allows eligible non-violent offenders to receive reductions of their minimum prison sentences if they successfully complete required programs and maintain good-conduct records in prison.
Under the program, an eligible offender who satisfies all requirements can be paroled after serving three-fourths of their minimum sentence for punishments up to three years, meaning Robinson could be paroled after serving a minimum of about 18 months.
Robinson also is eligible for the state’s Quehanna Boot Camp, a military-style, motivational and disciplinary program located in Clearfield County.
The investigation began in October 2020 when correctional officers discovered an influx of contraband, including the Apple watch, coming into the jail, which led to searches of the cell shared by Harley and Lowman, according to the criminal complaint filed by county detectives James Vinter and Vincent Higgins.
At the time, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, no in-person visits were permitted at the jail, “therefore, any contraband that could possibly be smuggled into the prison would be from new inmates (who are all thoroughly searched) or prison staff,” Vinter and Higgins alleged.
The subsequent investigation involved intercepted jailhouse calls, confidential sources and interviews of corrections officers and surveillance, court documents indicate.
On Jan. 8, 2021, detectives confronted Robinson with the allegations when he arrived for work at the jail and he consented to searches of his person and his vehicle, according to court papers. During those searches, detectives seized multiple orange packets wrapped in polyethylene food wrap containing suspected Suboxone, a small amount of marijuana and a tobacco-like substance believed to be K2, according to the criminal complaint.
During an interview by detectives, Robinson said he began bringing contraband into the jail in August 2020. The purpose of the contraband was to distribute it to inmates, Lowman and Harley, “who both orchestrated this transaction while in the prison,” detectives alleged in the arrest affidavit, adding that Robinson, under the direction of Harley and Lowman, would pick up illegal narcotics from the inmates’ sources of supply outside the jail.
“Once Robinson received the drugs and/or contraband from the sources outside the prison walls, he would place them inside his socks in attempt to conceal them from detection from random searches by prison personnel upon his arrival for duty as a correctional officer,” Vinter and Higgins alleged, adding Robinson stated he received about $650 for each delivery, payment being made from a cash app account.
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