Nassau County District Attorney Kathleen Rice announced last week that investigators from her office have arrested and charged a Nassau County corrections officer, a visitor to the jail, and two jail inmates in connection with two separate probes into the smuggling of drugs, cigarettes and a cellular phone into the East Meadow facility.
Luke Holland, 42, a corrections officer from Levittown, was arrested by investigators last Friday on his way to work. Rice says that between December 2006 and August 2007, Holland allegedly sold and distributed marijuana, the painkiller Oxycontin and cigarettes to inmates of the jail. The inmates were reported to have paid Holland both directly in cash and by transferring commissary funds to others who then used the funds to wire Holland payments. It is alleged that Holland received in excess of $9,000 over a nine-month period.
Holland is charged with Receiving Reward for Official Misconduct in the Second Degree, a Class E felony carrying a maximum of four years in prison in the event of a conviction. Subsequent to his arrest, Holland was suspended without pay by the Nassau County Sheriff's Department.
Holland was arraigned Jan. 23 in First District Court Hempstead, where a judge set bail at $7,000 bond or $3,500 cash. He is due back in court Feb. 27. He is being represented by Marc Gann, Esq.
Handling Holland's case for the District Attorney's Office is Assistant District Attorney William Jorgensen of the DA's Public Corruption Bureau.
"I find these allegations against the corrections officer appalling. He's a public servant sworn to protect us all," said Rice. "He violated the public trust and he put making a buck for himself ahead of the public who pay him his salary. I am confident that he does not represent the overwhelming majority of hard working, honest corrections officers we have working in the jail."
A separate probe by the District Attorney's Office resulted in the arrest of former inmates John Thompson, 25, of Roosevelt, and Michael Price, 28, of Brentwood and Thompson's girlfriend, Sherri Martin, 22, of Roosevelt. All are charged with Promoting Prison Contraband in the First Degree, a Class D felony carrying a maximum of seven years in prison in the event of a conviction.
Rice said that on March 8, Martin allegedly smuggled a cell phone into the Nassau County Correctional Center to give to Thompson while he awaited sentencing on a drug possession conviction. Before beginning his 42-month sentence in Franklyn Correctional Institution in upstate New York, Thompson allegedly passed the phone to fellow inmate Price, a federal prisoner awaiting sentence on a felony weapons possession charge. Authorities reported they discovered the phone in Price's cell on April 15, prior to his transfer to Schuylkill Federal Correctional Institute in Pennsylvania, where he began serving an 80-month sentence.
Thompson was arrested at the Franklyn Correctional Institute on Jan. 26 and is scheduled to be arraigned today. Price was indicted Jan. 9 and was transferred to Nassau County Feb. 5. Martin surrendered to DA investigators last Friday morning.
Martin and Thompson's case is being handled by Assistant District Attorney Ken St. Bernard of the District Attorney's Rackets Bureau. Price's case is being handled by Assistant District Attorney Everett Witherell of the District Attorney's County Court Trial Bureau.
Rice credited the jail's leadership for their cooperation and assistance in the investigations. "It would have been very difficult, perhaps impossible, to do these cases without assistance from the leadership of the Nassau County jail," Rice said following the arrests.
The charges are merely accusations and the defendants are presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.