PROVIDENCE — A correctional officer and two detainees at the Donald W. Wyatt Detention Facility are among those charged with participating in a scheme to smuggle Suboxone into the Central Falls detention center, Acting US Attorney Richard B. Myrus announced Monday.
Suboxone is the brand name for a prescription medication used in treating people who are addicted to opioids. It contains the ingredients buprenorphine and naloxone.
Federal prosecutors claim that in early and mid-February, two Wyatt detainees — Emmanuel Nolasco, 34, and Matthew Pizarro, 32 — communicated with former detainee Roosevelt Dale, 32, of Providence, and Yahaira Cristina Contreras, 29, of Providence, arranging to provide Suboxone strips to correctional officer Kaii Almeida-Falcones.
Almeida-Falcones, 25, then allegedly smuggled the Suboxone inside the Wyatt facility, prosecutors said.
Dale had been released from the Wyatt in May 2020, after claiming he was at heightened risk to contract COVID-19.
Last year, Wyatt released at least 25 immigration detainees after the American Civil Liberties Union filed a federal class-action lawsuit claiming it wasn’t safe to keep them there amid the coronavirus outbreak.
According to court documents, members of the Wyatt Detention Center Professional Standards Unit searched Nolasco’s cell on Feb. 15 and seized about 70 loose strips and a “brick” of 100 strips of Suboxone.
Later that day, Almeida-Falcones was placed on paid leave and told by Wyatt administrators not to return to the facility until advised to do so.
Almeida-Falcones, Nolasco, Pizarro, Dale, and Contreras are charged by way of federal criminal complaints with drug trafficking and providing contraband in prison.
Almeida-Falcones, Contreras, and Dale were arrested Friday morning by members of the FBI and US Marshals Service, with assistance from the US Department of Justice and Office of Inspector General. They appeared before US Magistrate Judge Patricia A. Sullivan, and Dale was detained while Almeida-Falcones and Contreras were released on conditions.
Nolasco remains detained at Wyatt awaiting trial in an unrelated matter. Pizarro is incarcerated at US Penitentiary Hazelton in Bruceton Mills, Va. Both will have court appearances at a later date.
In a statement, Wyatt Warden Daniel Martin thanked the US Marshals Service, the FBI, and the US Attorney’s office for their work on the case.
“I would like to commend the members of the Wyatt Detention Professional Standards unit on identifying this incident of contraband conveyance and facilitating the investigation in collaboration with the US Marshal Services and the Federal Bureau of Investigations,” Martin said. “This incident does not represent the committed men and women of the Wyatt who work tirelessly to provide a safe, humane environment for the detainees, as well as protecting the public and staff.”