Corrections Officer, 2 Others Arrested for Smuggling Phones into San Quentin
SAN QUENTIN — One corrections officer and two other persons have been arrested for allegedly conspiring to smuggle cell phones into San Quentin State Prison. At least 25 phones were purchased by death row inmates paying up to $900 apiece.
State law deems cell phones as contraband and prohibits possession of them by inmates under any circumstances. Authorities have not commented on how the inmates acquired the money to purchase them.
Two of the suspects are California residents. Corrections officer Keith Christopher, 37 of Pittsburg, was arrested inside the prison on September 7. Isaiah D. Wells, 32 of Tracy, was arrested September 7 at his residence.
A third suspect, Tanisa Smith-Symes, 45 of Las Vegas, was arrested in Nevada on September 8.
The arrests of the three suspects resulted from an extensive joint investigation. It was conducted by the FBI, California Department of Corrections, and California Rehabilitation Office of Internal Affairs.
Authorities allege Smith-Symes worked with a death row inmate whom she knows inside the prison. She allegedly obtained the phones and shipped them to Wells, who provided them to Christopher to smuggle into the prison.
Smith-Symes allegedly sent bribery payments to Christopher through Wells and other persons. Christopher allegedly charged $500 as payment for each phone he smuggled into the prison.
Christopher, Wells and Smith-Symes each face federal charges for conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud. If convicted they each face a maximum of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.