A New Jersey attorney and former prosecutor has admitted to helping smuggle marijuana and tobacco into a pretrial lockup for federal inmates at the Essex County Jail.
Brian Kapalin, 67, pleaded guilty Wednesday in federal court in Trenton to one count of conspiring to smuggle contraband into a federal detention facility.
Kapalin, of Maplewood, accepted packages of marijuana and tobacco from 40-year-old Vladimir Sauzereseto, of East Orange, between September 2013 and this past May.
In exchange for cash payments, he agreed to smuggle the contraband to federal pretrial detainees, including Sauzereseteo's brother, 32-year-old Muhammad Subpunallah, prosecutors said.
In at least one instance, Subpunallah allegedly gave Kapalin $500 to deliver a package of marijuana to another inmate. Kapalin handed the contraband over during a meeting inside the jail's attorney conference room, according to federal prosecutors.
Kapalin, who left the Essex County Prosecutor's Office in 2003, admitted delivering multiple packages of marijuana to a third inmate, also at a price of $500 each.
He faces a maximum possible penalty of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine when he is sentenced March 18.
Sauzereseteo previously pleaded guilty to a count of conspiring to smuggle contraband into a federal detention facility and is scheduled to be sentenced Dec. 4.
Charges against Subpunallah remain pending.