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Ex-Coffee Creek prison guard pleads guilty to drug smuggling, sex misconduct

Coffee Creek Correctional Facility
KPTV file

WILSONVILLE, Ore. (AP) — A former officer at the Coffee Creek Correctional Facility will spend time in prison after pleading guilty to drug and sex charges while on duty in 2019, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office in Oregon.

Richard Alberts II, pleaded guilty Monday to conspiracy to distribute controlled substances and custodial sexual misconduct.

In December 2019, unsealed court documents showed Alberts and his co-conspirator, Joseph Jimenez, were accused of conspiring to distribute heroin and methamphetamine at the women’s prison in Wilsonville where Alberts worked.

Alberts agreed to smuggle opioids, meth and heroin into the prison and provide them to an inmate with whom he was having “an inappropriate and illegal sexual relationship.”

Former Department of Corrections employee convicted of federal charges
Oregon Dept. of Corrections - 11/23/20 1:23 PM

Today, former Oregon Department of Corrections (DOC) employee Richard Alberts pleaded guilty to one count of Conspiracy to Distribute Controlled Substances. Alberts also plead guilty to Custodial Sexual Misconduct in the First Degree, for which he received probation. He will be sentenced on February 22, 2021 by the Honorable Michael H. Simon.           

DOC Director Colette S. Peters said, “The Oregon Department of Corrections is committed to preventing sexual misconduct involving employees and the people in our care and custody; and take decisive action when allegations are brought forward. When DOC’s Inspector General’s Office and the leadership at Coffee Creek Correctional Facility received a tip about Alberts’ criminal behavior, the agency immediately acted by launching an internal investigation and contacting state and federal law enforcement. Our goal was to ensure a thorough investigation, a fair process, and prosecution, if warranted.

We have thousands of employees who provide outstanding public service each and every day. I would like to thank our partners at the US Attorney General’s Office, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Oregon State Police, and the Washington County District Attorney’s office for their cooperation in handing down justice for Alberts’ illegal and dishonorable behavior.”

In 2019, the defendant was a correctional officer at Coffee Creek Correctional Facility (CCCF), the women’s prison in Wilsonville, operated by DOC. While a correctional officer, the defendant began to have inappropriate and illegal interactions with an incarcerated woman. Alberts unlawfully smuggled multiple cell phones into the prison, so that the woman could secretly use them to communicate with him and others outside the institution.  Alberts had sexual intercourse with this woman, which is the basis for defendant’s guilty plea to Custodial Sexual Misconduct in the First Degree, in the Washington County Circuit Court.

Additionally, defendant unlawfully smuggled OxyContin pills, methamphetamine, and heroin into CCCF. The defendant knew the smuggled drugs were not for the adult in custody’s personal use, but, instead, intended for distribution to other women incarcerated at CCCF.  In particular, as relevant to the Conspiracy to Distribute Controlled Substances conviction, on the evening of June 3, 2019, defendant Alberts and his co-defendant Joseph Jimenez planned to meet in the parking lot in Portland, so that Jimenez could provide Alberts with heroin, for Alberts to then smuggle into CCCF.  The two defendants did not know each other, so the incarcerated woman at CCCF helped to coordinate the meeting at Emmanuel by using her contraband cell phone.  She sent text messages and Snapchat photos to help Alberts and Jimenez find each other.  Then, after Jimenez and Alberts met, Jimenez provided the heroin to Alberts.

The next day, on June 4, 2019, Alberts smuggled that heroin into CCCF, and later provided it to an incarcerated woman. Just a few days later, a DOC investigator seized a small amount of methamphetamine and over 6 grams heroin from the incarcerated woman. An investigation by the DOC and FBI revealed that the seized heroin was, in fact, the same heroin that Alberts had obtained from Jimenez and smuggled into CCCF. Alberts was then immediately placed on administrative leave without pay from DOC.

“This corrections officer selfishly abused his position of trust and in doing so, endangered the lives of vulnerable inmates fighting for their own sobriety” said United States Attorney Billy J. Williams. “Instead of protecting the inmates, he exploited them.  The excellent investigative work of the Oregon Department of Corrections, the Oregon State Police, and the FBI now ensures that a man who once guarded inmates will become one himself.”

"Alberts abused his position of power over the Coffee Creek inmates with the trafficking of meth and heroin," said Renn Cannon, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI in Oregon. "Instead of ensuring a safe environment for these women as he should have been, he exploited addiction and targeted a vulnerable population for his own gain. We can't let such behavior stand."

DOC strictly adheres to the Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA) of 2003. Every state corrections department, juvenile corrections agency, private prison, federal prison, and jail has an obligation to comply with PREA standards, which seek to detect, prevent, and eliminate sexual abuse and sexual harassment in correctional settings.

Alberts began his career as a Correctional Officer at CCCF in April 2017.

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