A prisoner's offhand request for some holiday liquor led to a sting operation that yesterday brought down a guard at Miami's downtown Federal Detention Center on charges of selling alcohol and cocaine to inmates.
The FBI arrested Octavius Allen, a 37-year-old guard, charging he made thousands of dollars by unloading plastic bottles of Remy Martin VS and packages of cocaine to prisoners earlier this month.
Allen, who has no criminal record in Miami, got caught up in a sting that began Christmas Eve when a Dominican inmate named Lenin Angoma told Allen he'd pay hundreds of dollars to be able "to toast the holidays" with a drink.
Allen asked Angoma how much he'd be able to pull together for a little holiday merriment.
Angoma -- who's serving time for a 2009 coke rap and has a long record of drug charges, assault and battery, and grand theft -- talked to some other prisoners and told Allen they could come up with $600, according to the federal complaint filed today.
Allen, the feds say, decided the price was right.
On December 26, Allen met the ex-wife of one of the other inmates in a Sears parking lot on NW 49th Street and picked up the $600 payoff.
Angoma and the others must have liked the Remy. Five days later, they asked Allen if he could smuggle in two more bottles. They offered him another $600 for each bottle, according to the FBI.
Allen agreed. On New Year's Day, he met the ex-wife in the same Sears lot and collected $1,200 for the liquor.
The liquor drops were going so well that Angoma asked Allen whether he could bring anything stiffer into the jail. Allen said he was interested, the feds say. In the meantime, he kept a steady supply of liquor flowing to the inmates, the FBI says, often by slipping bottles into Angoma's jumpsuits.
On January 26, Allen again met with the ex-wife, this time at the Starbucks on the corner of NE 69th Street and Biscayne Boulevard. She asked whether he'd be willing to smuggle an eightball of coke into jail for about $3,000.
The next day, Allen called back to say he'd do it, the feds say. The two arranged to meet at the same Starbucks. Inside, the ex-wife handed Allen two envelopes, one stuffed with a few thousand in cash, the other with what looked like cocaine.
Allen walked into the bathroom and strolled out with the envelopes stuffed inside his pants.
What he didn't know was that the ex-wife was wearing a wire, that the inmates had turned on him, and that the FBI was waiting.
Allen was arrested as soon as he walked out of the Starbucks.
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He soon confessed to the whole scheme, the FBI says.
His first court appearance is scheduled for later this afternoon.