U.S. Attorney's Office
Eastern District of Pennsylvania
(215) 861-8200
December 14, 2015

Former Prison Guard Admits Smuggling Contraband into Philadelphia Prisons

PHILADELPHIA—Joseph Romano, 31, previously employed at The Philadelphia Industrial Correctional Center (“PICC”) and the Riverside Correctional Facility, pleaded guilty today to attempted extortion which interfered with interstate commerce and two counts of attempted distribution of controlled substances. Romano agreed to deliver OxyContin pills to a prisoner in exchange for $1,000.

To obtain the contraband and payment, Romano arranged a meeting with the inmate’s purported associate at locations in Philadelphia. During the ensuing meeting, the inmate’s purported associate handed the contraband and cash payment to Romano, and Romano subsequently smuggled the contraband past prison security and delivered it to an inmate.

U.S. District Court Judge Paul S. Diamond remanded the defendant into federal custody and scheduled a sentencing hearing for March 14, 2016. Romano faces a statutory maximum sentence of 40 years in prison, possible fines, supervised release, and a $300 special assessment.

The case was investigated by the FBI and the Philadelphia Department of Corrections with assistance from the Philadelphia Police Department’s Prison Intelligence Group. It is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Kevin Brenner.

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