Modified: March 27, 2015 3:31pm
Erie County District Attorney Frank A. Sedita III announced that 49 year-old Charles P. Hunt, Jr. of South Division, Buffalo, has been sentenced to 90 days in the Erie County Correctional Facility. The sentence was imposed this morning by Erie County Court Judge Kenneth F. Case, who refused to spare jail time to the defendant, despite the request from his attorney. In handing down the sentence, Judge Case stressed finding a balance between the facts that the defendant had never before been involved in any criminal wrongdoing, with the breach of public trust by this defendant in supplying drugs to the very inmates he was sworn to supervise and protect. Judge Case also ordered the jail term to be followed by five years of supervised probation.
Hunt admitted to smuggling over an ounce of marijuana and a cellphone into the Erie County Holding Center on August 2, 2014 for the benefit of a group of inmates. The inmates had already paid Hunt $500 and were set to pay another $500 upon delivery. Instead, Erie County Sheriff’s Detectives (armed with a search warrant for the defendant) were waiting for Hunt when he arrived at work that day. The detectives recovered the drugs and the cellphone intended for the inmates. Both items are considered a “dangerous contraband” under state law for the risk they pose to the inmates and guards at the facility. Hunt, a sworn officer at the time, later confessed his criminal plans to the detectives. Hunt admitted that he also smuggled marijuana into the facility on two prior occasions, in exchange for money. He was immediately fired by Sheriff Timothy B. Howard.
This case began with a tip from one of the inmates involved in the plan, who was looking for leniency in his own case. The investigation lasted over a month and involved coordinated efforts between the Erie County Sheriff’s Office, the Erie County District Attorney’s Office, and the Drug Enforcement Administration.
Also arrested at the same time as Hunt was former Deputy Eric Stevens, 33, of Grand Prix Dr. in Cheektowaga. Stevens was also terminated for his role in allegedly smuggling various items, including a lighter (also a “dangerous contraband”) into the facility for the inmates. Stevens was operating separately and unrelated to Hunt. Stevens was indicted by an Erie County Grand Jury for the charge of Introduction of Prison Contraband in the First Degree. His case is pending and returns before Justice Penny M. Wolfgang on February 4, 2015 at 9:30am.
These cases are being prosecuted by Assistant District Attorney and Felony Trial Bureau Chief Michael P. Felicetta.