Correctional officer among eight arrested for smuggling drugs into Chester County Prison
● By Steven Hoffman
Chester County District Attorney Tom Hogan announced the arrests of a correctional officer, four inmates, and three civilians for participating in a scheme to smuggle drugs into Chester County Prison.
According to a statement from the District Attorney's office, correctional officer Douglas Keck allegedly obtained drugs such as heroin and prescription drugs from civilian friends of the inmates and then distributed those drugs to the inmates inside the prison. Keck was paid $100 per delivery. During one of the drug pickups outside of the prison, Keck brought his four-year-old son along to the drug deal. The conspiracy was discovered and investigated by the Chester County Detectives and Chester County Prison intelligence officers.
Keck, 45, a resident of Pottstown, was hired by the Chester County Prison on Sept. 9, 2014. He was terminated when the crimes were discovered.
The police also arrested Ray Gibase, 36, an inmate at the prison. Gibase is the alleged middle man in the prison, who would take the drugs from Keck and distribute it to inmates. His last known address was in Brookhaven, Pa., and he is currently a fugitive from a halfway house.
Richard Nicoletti, 38, Steven Wambold, 24, and Victor Rodriguez, 27, are inmates who allegedly received drugs as part of this scheme.
Vladislav Babayan, 30, a friend of Nicoletti's, is accused of providing money and drugs to Nicoletti.
Brittany Pestcoe, 21, a resident of Douglassville, Pa. and the girlfriend of Wambold, allegedly stole drugs from the CVS Pharmacy where she worked and gave them to Keck for delivery in the prison.
Ivelise Rodriguez, a Philadelphia resident and the fiancée of Victor Rodriguez, is also accused of providing funds and drugs for the scheme.
According to the District Attorney's office, Gibase befriended Keck in February, just a few months after the correctional office started his job. Between February and March, law enforcement officials believe that Keck, Gibase, and the other accused persons arranged for five separate drug deliveries to the prison. The drugs included heroin, Subutex, and Xanax. Chester County Detectives quickly uncovered the scheme and observed a transaction between Keck and Pestcoe in North Conventry Township.
The accused face charges of conspiracy to smuggle drugs and other contraband into prison, drug dealing, criminal use of a communication facility, and other drug-related charges. Keck has also been charged with endangering the welfare of a child for taking his four-year-old on drug transactions.
“This case is another reminder of the dangers of these powerful narcotic drugs,” said Hogan in a statement. “Even in prison, inmates cannot break the addiction. As a result, a correctional officer was corrupted, betraying his coworkers or a little money from convicted criminals.”