Pending sentence did not stop former Rikers CO from smuggling contraband to Bloods boyfriend
Months ago Krystle Burrell admitted that while she worked at Rikers Island she smuggled Terrae Hinds two cell phones, helped him sell drugs and accepted bribes
By John Annese
New York Daily News
NEW YORK — A looming criminal sentence in a jail smuggling case didn’t stop an ex-Rikers Island correction officer from sneaking drugs, cigarettes and booze to her gang-member boyfriend in the Brooklyn federal lockup, prosecutors allege.
Krystle Burrell, 36, didn’t let the threat of federal prison time stop her from doing everything she could to keep Bloods member Terrae Hinds stocked up with goods to sell as he sits in the Metropolitan Detention Center, say Brooklyn federal prosecutors.
Burrell and Hinds were hit Wednesday with new federal charges of possessing contraband and conspiracy to possess contraband.
The case began after a phone found in Hinds’ cell revealed a lengthy text message back-and-forth between the couple about bribing a Metropolitan Detention Center guard $5,000 to smuggle in pot, smokes and alcohol in November, the feds say.
Just two months earlier, Burrell stood before a Brooklyn Federal Court judge and admitted that while she worked at Rikers Island and Hinds was a detainee there, she smuggled him two cell phones, helped him sell drugs and contraband, and accepted $9,780 in bribes.
Burrell’s lawyer said in court papers that her life spiraled out of control after the 2018 murder of her fiancé, Jelan Moreira, and she “became involved an admittedly inappropriate and unlawful romantic relationship with her co-defendant Terrae Hinds.”
In a letter to the Judge Kiyo Matsumoto, Burrell wrote, “At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter what I was going through or felt, I had a responsibility to uphold my oath and did not. I am just asking you to realize I had a moment of weakness as a human being.”
But prosecutors contend that weakness lasted longer than a moment.
Last July, before her guilty plea, Burrell and an unidentified man went to one of Hinds’ court appearances for a gun case on the 15th floor of the Manhattan Supreme Court building. The man accompanying Burrell made several trips to the bathroom.
Later, Hinds tried, unsuccessfully, to convince law enforcement officials to let him use that bathroom, according to the feds. When suspicious investigators later searched the loo, they found three balloons full of marijuana in a stall which they suspect Hinds planned to smuggle back to his cell.
Then, on Nov. 20, staff at the MDC found a Samsung mobile phone in Hinds’ cell and about 50 grams of marijuana on his body, prosecutors said.
A search found days of WhatsApp messages between Burrell and Hinds — including discussions about the illegal car rental business they ran together, and a plot to smuggle contraband into the MDC.
“The jet said he give us a ride for 5 bands. Said we can put a pound 2 cartons and a bottle and sneakers,” Hinds messaged her on Nov. 15, according to court documents. The feds say “jet” means a fellow member of the Blood Hound Brims gang, and a “band” means $1,000.
Hinds wrote he could sell a pound of weed inside the jail for “like 35 bands,” and the cartons of cigarettes for $4,500 each. “The bottles is cheap ima change that,” he wrote, according to the feds. “Bottles” is a reference to alcohol.
The two talked about how to get the $5,000 needed to bribe the MDC guard, and Hinds messaged a co-conspirator, also at MDC, to determine where and when Burrell should drop off the money and goods.
The dropoff happened on Nov. 16, near 126th St. in Manhattan, and license plate readers recorded Burrell’s car heading over the Third Ave. Bridge into Manhattan, then later crossing the Throgs Neck Bridge into Queens and near her home in Freeport, L.I.
“Touchdown babe,” she messaged him, according to the feds.
Later that night, someone sent her a message from Hinds’ phone saying that her beau wasn’t able to get to the phone, and assuring her, “He said he love you and he got everything he was supposed to. He said everything swagged out.”
Burrell is now locked up at the Metropolitan Detention Center awaiting sentencing in her original case. She had been free, but a judge ordered her bond revoked.
Hinds, who also pleaded guilty to a federal bribery charge in October, remains locked up.