A correctional officer at the Chester County Prison was arrested Monday on charges from alleged collusion with inmates and civilians in a long-term drug-smuggling scheme, the county district attorney said.
Officer Douglas Keck, 45, of Pottstown, was repeatedly paid to obtain heroin and prescription drugs from friends of inmates and deliver them to former inmate Ray Gibase, 36, who distributed them inside the prison, officials said Monday.
An arrest warrant has been issued for Gibase, a fugitive from a halfway house. Authorities said he convinced Keck to take part in the conspiracy and played middle man in the scheme.
Using prison phones, inmates arranged for five separate drug transfers between Keck and their friends during February and March. Keck was paid $100 for every transaction, officials said.
Keck allegedly smuggled the substances into the prison during his 4 p.m. to midnight shifts on the H block of the prison, delivering heroin, narcotic analgesics and Xanax, along with chewing tobacco.
"We expect members of the criminal justice system to keep drugs away from criminals, not act as an in-prison drug dealer," District Attorney Thomas Hogan said.
Inmates Richard Nicoletti, 38; Victor Rodriguez, 27; and Steven Wambold, 24, were arrested Friday, along with civilians Vladislav Babayan, 30; Brittany Pestcoe, 21; and Ivelise Rodriquez, 34. All involved were charged with conspiracy, drug dealing, criminal use of a communication facility and other drug-related charges, Hogan said in a statement.
Pestcoe, Wambold's girlfriend, is also accused of stealing drugs from a CVS in Douglassville, where she was employed as a pharmacist technician-in-training, to deliver to Keck.
Chester County detectives discovered the scheme after the fourth delivery, around March 15. They began surveying Keck, monitoring prison phone calls and reviewing recorded calls made by inmates.
On March 23, detectives interrupted a transaction between Keck and Pestcoe at a Wawa in North Coventry Township. Keck, who had his 4-year-old son with him, officials said, turned over a package of drugs and cooperated with detectives. He has also been charged with child endangerment.
Keck was immediately fired from his job, officials said. He was arraigned Monday in Kennett Square.