A guard at the Richard J. Donovan Correctional Facility in Otay Mesa has been indicted by a federal grand jury for allegedly accepting bribes from a prison inmate in exchange for smuggling him contraband, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said Monday.
Benito Jamar Hugie, 47, is accused of accepting “thousands of dollars” in bribes to smuggle dental molds, jewelry and other items into the San Diego County prison for 26-year-old inmate Shawn Brown. Among the items Hugie allegedly snuck into the prison were a custom bejeweled dental grill that Brown ordered from a jeweler in Houston, Texas, as well as a smuggled cellphone.
Two others — Brown’s brothers Daejohne Hatcher and Demetrius Warsinger — are also charged with facilitating the bribes.
“Corrections officers are supposed to supervise inmates, not collaborate with them on crimes,” said U.S. Attorney Randy Grossman. “We will hold officers accountable when they sacrifice their own integrity and that of the prison system for a payday.”
The announcement by federal authorities of the indictment against Hugie included mention of a separate indictment against Brown, who is charged in another case with allegedly taking nearly $700,000 in pandemic-related unemployment benefits while he was in custody at the prison.
Prosecutors allege Brown and others used stolen identities to file fraudulent claims with the state’s Employment Development Department and received funds intended for people who need food and/or housing assistance as a result of the pandemic.
Six others are charged along with Brown in the fraud case.