2 Rikers Island COs arrested for trafficking synthetic marijuana in the jail

The COs accepted cash bribes from members of a gang in exchange for helping smuggle K2-soaked papers into the jail


By Noah Goldberg
New York Daily News

NEW YORK — Two Rikers Island corrections officers were arrested Thursday for helping gang members traffic synthetic marijuana into the city lockup, federal prosecutors said.

The arrests of Darius Murphy and Johnny Chiles, 36, two Correction Department guards, came as part of a sweeping indictment of 45 members and associates of the Brooklyn-based “Bully Gang,” which ran a drug-trafficking operation that shipped heroin, fentanyl and crack between Maine and New York on top of the Rikers Island scheme, according to prosecutors.

Sign at the entrance to Rikers Island.
Sign at the entrance to Rikers Island. (Photo/James Keivom of New York Daily News via TNS)

Ten people, including Murphy and Chiles, were arrested as part of the indictment Thursday. Thirty-four of those indicted were already behind bars.

The two guards accepted cash bribes between 2019 and 2020 from members of the Bedford- Stuyvesant gang in exchange for helping smuggle K2-soaked papers into the jail, where they gave them to five inmates who were part of the gang, including founder Moeleek “Moe Money” Harrell, 31, prosecutors claimed.

Harrell’s longtime partner, Nehemie Eril, 24, delivered the K2 smuggled into the facility and also paid the correction officers involved in the scheme, according to the feds.

A search of Harrell’s Rikers cell on May 29 turned up 19 pages of comic books coated in an oily film that tested positive for K2 and fentanyl or heroin, according to the feds.

Inmates would light the pages and inhale the smoke to get high, prosecutors said.

Eleven members of the group were also hit with racketeering charges Thursday for the operation of the gang and for underlying crimes including attempted murder, armed robbery, drug trafficking and money laundering.

The gang also operated houses in Maine and New Jersey where they stored drugs and money, the feds said. Proceeds from drug dealing were used to buy jewelry and cars, according to prosecutors.

Two members of the gang, Franklin Gillespie, 30, and Latrell Johnson, 27, committed numerous gunpoint robberies over the summer in 2020 in lower Manhattan, prosecutors said.

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