Bloomfield Corrections Officer Sentenced For Prison Smuggling
Nine-year veteran officer made $1,000 weekly smuggling narcotics and cell phones for prisoners into the Essex County Correctional Facility
Bloomfield corrections officer Joseph Mastriani, 32, was sentenced on Friday to five years in New Jersey State Prison for his role in a criminal scheme to smuggle drugs, cell phones and other contraband into the Essex County Correctional Facility.
According to the statement released by Acting Essex County Prosecutor Carolyn A. Murray on March 23, Mastriani was the mastermind behind a $1,000-a-week smuggling operation that brought narcotics and cell phones into the jail. Inmates would pay up to $500 for the items. Mastriani, who had worked as corrections officer for nine years, was taken into custody on July 29, 2010 following a five-month investigation dubbed “Operation Jail Breach.”
On November 18, 2011, Mastriani pleaded guilty to one count of second-degree official misconduct. Under the terms of the plea agreement, he is required to serve five years in prison before being eligible for parole.
“When a corrections officer smuggles narcotics, cell phones and other contraband into a corrections facility, he not only violates his oath but he puts innocent people at grave risk. This kind of criminal activity cannot be tolerated,’’ said First Assistant Prosecutor Robert Laurino.
Mastriani's girlfriend, Jill Watral, 33, was sentenced on Friday to two years probation and required to forfeit her job as a schoolteacher at Washington Academy in Cedar Grove. Two other defendants, Wilbert Best and Ricardo Ortiz, who are currently incarcerated and each serving 13-year sentences, were sentenced Friday to three years for their roles in the smuggling scheme.