DA Vance and DOI Commissioner Peters Announce Sentencing of Correction Officer to Six Years in State Prison for Smuggling Prison Contraband

April 28, 2016

Co-Defendant Khalilah Mattocks Also Pleaded Guilty to Providing Contraband To Be Smuggled Inside Jail

Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance, Jr., and New York City Department of Investigation (“DOI”) Commissioner Mark G. Peters today announced the sentencing of PATRICIA HOWARD, 44, a former Department of Correction (“DOC”) Officer, to six years in state prison and five years’ post-release supervision for smuggling dangerous and other prison contraband into the Manhattan Detention Complex (“MDC”). On March 31, 2016, the defendant pleaded guilty to Attempted Criminal Sale of a Controlled Substance in the Second Degree, Promoting Prison Contraband in the First Degree, and Conspiracy in the Fifth Degree. 

“The security of City jails is only as sound as the integrity of those who operate them,” said District Attorney Vance. “In this case, the defendant—a former correction officer—was convicted of participating in a so-called ‘Jail Shopping Network’ by smuggling dangerous contraband into the MDC, jeopardizing the safety of all who work or reside in the jail. I thank our partners in law enforcement, and in particular, DOI, for their commitment to stopping the smuggling of contraband that perpetuates a dangerous underground economy that often leads to jailhouse violence.”

DOI Commissioner Mark G. Peters said: “This Correction Officer not only leveraged the authority her position afforded for personal financial gain, but compromised the safety of her fellow officers by engaging in this corruption. DOI remains fully committed to ending the underground contraband rings fueling violence and instability at our City’s jails. I thank the Manhattan District Attorney and his staff for their assistance in prosecuting this case and their partnership in so many DOI matters.”

As admitted in the defendant’s guilty plea, between December 2014 and May 2015, HOWARD—along with a separately convicted co-defendant and two separately charged co-defendants—conspired to smuggle dangerous and other prison contraband into the MDC, including narcotics, cell phones, tools, tobacco, and other prohibited items.

During this period, HOWARD was assigned to work in the mailroom of the MDC. TOMMY DAVIS, 56, a separately charged defendant housed as an inmate in the MDC, is accused of distributing prison contraband to fellow inmates, including narcotics, marijuana, tobacco, cell phones, and other items. As alleged in the indictment, DAVIS directed his sister, separately charged defendant VELVER JEAN DAVIS, 59, and his niece, separately convicted defendant KHALILAH MATTOCKS, 36, to obtain the items, which were then provided to HOWARD to smuggle into the MDC in exchange for hundreds of dollars in cash payments.

In one instance, on April 29, 2015, an undercover investigator posing as an associate of an MDC inmate contacted MATTOCKS and requested that a package containing a cell phone, oxycodone, and tobacco be delivered to an inmate. Investigators traced the cell phone’s movement and observed the phone moving from MATTOCKS’s apartment, to HOWARD’s apartment, to the MDC, where HOWARD smuggled it inside and delivered it to DAVIS.

In another instance, on May 9, 2015, MATTOCKS delivered a shopping bag to HOWARD containing crack cocaine, marijuana, three cell phones, lighters, tobacco, rolling papers, pliers, and a flashlight—items that were supposed to be smuggled into the MDC by HOWARD. When HOWARD was apprehended, she was in possession of $800 in cash, which had been provided to her as a fee for her services. A subsequent search of the mailroom where HOWARD worked revealed an anonymous, handwritten note addressed to HOWARD that read, “Thanks for your support ‘Jail Shopping Network.’”

On April 26, 2016, MATTOCKS pleaded guilty in New York State Supreme Court to Criminal Possession of a Controlled Substance in the Third Degree, Promoting Prison Contraband in the First Degree, and Conspiracy in the Fifth Degree for obtaining dangerous and other prison contraband and delivering those items to HOWARD to be smuggled into the MDC. She is expected to be sentenced on May 5, 2016.

The investigation by the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office’s Public Corruption Unit and DOI involved the use of court-authorized wire taps, undercover officers, and additional investigative methods to uncover the smuggling operation.

Assistant District Attorney Renée Jarusinsky, Deputy Chief of the Public Corruption Unit, handled the prosecution of the case with the assistance of Assistant District Attorney Nicholas Leddy and under the supervision of Assistant District Attorney Luke Rettler, Chief of the Public Corruption Unit, and Executive Assistant District Attorney David Szuchman, Chief of the Investigation Division. The following individuals also assisted with the investigation: Chief Investigator Walter Alexander; Supervising Rackets Investigator Alexander Farrugia; Director of Surveillance Christopher Stiansen; Senior Rackets Investigators Christo Christonikos, Edward Johnson, Shannon Rowe, and Joseph Monroig; Electronic Surveillance Investigator Sean Lucas; and Investigative Analysts Merdina Ljekperic and Kristin Schwam.  

District Attorney Vance also thanked DOI, DOC, and NYPD, and in particular, members of the 28th Precinct, for their assistance with the investigation.

Defendant Information:

Bronx, NY


  • Attempted Criminal Sale of a Controlled Substance in the Second Degree, a class A-II felony, 1 count
  • Promoting Prison Contraband in the First Degree, a class D felony, 1 count
  • Conspiracy in the Fifth Degree, a class A misdemeanor, 1 count


  • 6 years in state prison
  • 5 years’ post-release supervision