Essex authorities arrest 13 accused in county jail smuggling ring

Authorities arrested 13 people including two Essex County jail corrections officers accused in a jailhouse smuggling ring that was akin to a concierge service, allowing prisoners to obtain cell phones, drugs and other contraband at will, law enforcement officials said.

The alleged ringleader, Essex County Corrections Officer Joseph Mastriani, 30, of Nutley, was the first to wind up in handcuffs this morning when he arrived at the jail for work, according to two law enforcement officials who spoke on condition of anonymity because they are not authorized to speak publicly about the case.

The contraband ring worked like room service, with two inmates inside the jail taking orders from members of the general population and passing the requests along to the corrections officers, the officials said. The corrections officers would send word to the other people involved in the scheme, including girlfriends of the corrections’ officers, girlfriends of inmates and known gang members, who would buy the items outside.


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