Ore. CO accused of smuggling heroin, meth into prison
Coffee Creek Correctional Facility Officer Richard Steven Alberts II pleaded not guilty to charges of conspiring to distribute controlled substances and distribution of heroin
By Maxine Bernstein
WILSONVILLE, Ore. — A correctional officer at an Oregon women’s prison is accused of smuggling in heroin and methamphetamine for distribution to inmates.
Federal agents arrested Richard Steven Alberts II, 31, of Sherwood, on Monday morning.
A co-defendant, Joseph Lucio Jimenez, 27, of Gresham, accused of supplying the drugs to Alberts, is in custody on unrelated charges.
The two men are charged with conspiring with one another and other, unnamed individuals to distribute controlled substances and distribution of heroin stemming from a federal investigation that is ongoing.
On June 3, Jimenez is accused of meeting Alberts in the parking lot of Legacy Emanuel Medical Center and giving him heroin, which Alberts then smuggled into the Coffee Creek Correctional Facility in Wilsonville where he worked, according to Assistant U.S. Attorney Craig Gabriel.
“The cost of any narcotic inside a correctional facility is much higher than the cost on the street and jeopardized the safety of inmates there,’’ Gabriel told U.S. Magistrate Judge John Jelderks.
Alberts, through his lawyer Stephen Doyle, entered not guilty pleas to the charges in U.S. District Court in Portland Monday afternoon.
He’s been on paid leave from his job for the Oregon Department of Corrections since June. After his arrest Monday morning, he was placed on unpaid leave, according to his lawyer and the prosecutor.
Alberts worked for the state corrections department at Coffee Creek since April 17, 2017, according to Betty A. Bernt, a department spokeswoman.
“The Oregon Department of Corrections maintains a stringent code of ethics which requires all employees to be honest, to be truthful and to obey the law,’' Bernt said in a statement Monday afternoon. “While we cannot speak to matters of active investigation or pending litigation, DOC partners with fellow law enforcement agencies in the investigations of serious staff misconduct.’'
Alberts, who appeared in court in gray sweatpants and a long-sleeved gray shirt, is expected to be released from custody by Monday evening. He’s been ordered to have no contact with any staff or inmates at Coffee Creek Correctional Facility, unless he obtains prior approval from a federal pretrial services officer.
Jimenez already is in custody on an unrelated federal charge of being a felon in possession of a firearm. Jimenez is accused of possessing a black Glock .40-caliber pistol on July 23. He has prior 2015 convictions in Multnomah County for unlawful use of a weapon and felon in possession of a weapon, according to court records.
The FBI, Oregon State Police and Oregon Department of Corrections’ Office of Inspector General are investigating the case.
©2019 The Oregonian (Portland, Ore.)