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Donovan Prison Guard Indicted, Accused of Smuggling in Phone, Custom Dental Gear for Inmate


The Richard J. Donovan Correctional Facility in Otay Mesa is shown on Dec. 21, 2018. Among those housed at the state prison are inmates convicted of murder.
The Richard J. Donovan Correctional Facility in Otay Mesa in 2018. (Megan Wood/inewsource)

A guard at the Richard J. Donovan Correctional Facility in Otay Mesa has been indicted by a grand jury for allegedly accepting bribes from a prison inmate, authorities said Monday.

Benito Jamar Hugie, 47, allegedly accepted “thousands of dollars” in exchange for smuggling in contraband, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

Hugie is accused of taking the bribes to sneak dental molds, jewelry and other items into the prison for inmate Shawn Brown, 26. Among the items Hugie allegedly brought Brown were a custom bejeweled dental grill that Brown ordered from a jeweler in Houston, as well as a cell phone.

Two others – Brown’s brothers Daejohne Hatcher and Demetrius Warsinger – are also charged with facilitating the bribes.

“Corrections officers are supposed to supervise inmates, not collaborate with them on crimes,” said U.S. Attorney Randy Grossman. “We will hold officers accountable when they sacrifice their own integrity and that of the prison system for a payday.”

The announcement by federal authorities of the indictment against Hugie included mention of a separate indictment against Brown, who is charged in another case. He allegedly took nearly $700,000 in pandemic-related unemployment benefits while he was in custody at the prison.

Prosecutors allege Brown and others used stolen identities to file fraudulent claims with the state’s Employment Development Department and receive funds intended for people who needed food and/or housing assistance as a result of the pandemic.

Six others also face charges in the fraud case.

– City News Service


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