A former assistant New Jersey prosecutor and two Department of Corrections officers were arrested by the FBI early Wednesday on federal corruption charges for allegedly smuggling contraband into a county jail, officials said.
The former assistant prosecutor, 66-year-old Brian Kapalin, and corrections officers Stephon Solomon, 26, and Channel Lespinasse, 25, are among nine people charged in the smuggling operation that allegedly funneled cell phones, marijuana and tobacco into the Essex County Jail.
Prosecutors allege the defendants smuggled those items into the jail five times over a six-month period that began last October.
A call to Kapalin's office was not immediately returned, and lawyers for the corrections officers could not immediately be reached.
U.S. Attorney Paul Fishman said in a statement that "jails are no place for drugs and illicit phones, and it is disappointing that two corrections officers an an attorney allegedly used their authority and access to make them available."
They face up to five years in jail for smuggling drugs and one year for smuggling phones.
Essex County Executive Joseph DiVincenzo Jr. said there is "zero tolerance when the security of our institution is jeopardized by corrections officers who abuse their positions, attorneys who exploit privileges and inmates who break our rules."