Acting Essex County Prosecutor Carolyn A. Murray announced two defendants pleaded guilty today to participating in a criminal scheme to smuggle drugs and contraband in to the Essex County Correctional Facility.
Former Essex County Corrections Officer Joseph Mastriani, 31, of Bloomfield pleaded guilty to one count of second degree official misconduct. Mastriani, who had been a corrections officer for nine years, was the mastermind behind a $1,000-a-week smuggling operation that brought narcotics and cell phones into the jail. Inmates would pay Mastriani up to $500 for the items.
Mastriani’s girlfriend, Jill Watral, 32, of Nutley also pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit official misconduct. She was a school teacher at Washington Academy in Cedar Grove.
Both were caught following a five-month investigation dubbed “Operation Jail Breach.’’
They are both scheduled to be sentenced on Feb. 6 2012 by the Honorable Michael L. Ravin, J.S.C., according to Assistant Prosecutor Timothy Shaugnessy who is handling the case.
Under the terms of the plea agreement Mastriani must serve five years in state prison before he is eligible for parole. Watral will be given probation. Both must forfeit all current and future public employment.