LANCASTER – A former corrections officer accused of smuggling drugs and cell phones into the Lancaster prison for a criminal street gang has been ordered to trial.
Andre Scott, a corrections officer for more than 10 years at the state prison in Lancaster, must stand trial on two counts of bringing drugs into prison, possession of marijuana for sale, possession for sales of a controlled substance, sales or transportation of marijuana and sales or transportation of a controlled substance, a superior court judge ruled Tuesday (Dec. 17).
The ruling came after a preliminary hearing at Antelope Valley courthouse, where prosecutors outlined their case against Scott. The 42-year-old Lancaster resident is linked to the Pasadena Denver Lanes (PDL) Bloods gang, and he was transporting drugs and other contraband to gang members locked up at the Lancaster prison, according to court testimony.
An informant tipped off prison investigators last month, and on Nov. 28, three agents confronted Scott before his shift at the Lancaster prison’s minimum support facility, according to testimony by internal affairs agent William Yarbrough.
The agents searched Scott’s belongings and found vacuumed-sealed bags of marijuana, cellophane-wrapped packages of heroin, and several cell phones tagged with monikers for inmates, Yarbrough testified.
“There were several items of contraband as well as narcotics,” Yarbrough said.
One package marked “Slim” was field tested and contained marijuana, Yarbrough testified. Further investigation revealed that “Slim” was a nickname for 31-year-old inmate Daveion Clark, Yarbrough said.
Another package, containing a cell phone, food, and ear buds, was marked “Ram,” the moniker of 39-year-old inmate Mario Floyd, according to Yarbrough’s testimony.
Further investigation revealed Scott was dealing with 41-year-old inmate and PDL gang member William Hodges to introduce narcotics into the prison, according to Yarbrough’s testimony. Hodges is locked up in the same minimum support facility where Scott worked, Yarbough testified. He said officers searched Hodges’ property and found Scott’s phone number tucked in a Bible. They also found a known address for Scott during the search, Yarbrough testified.
Authorities served a search warrant at Scott’s Lancaster home, where they found packages of marijuana, a stolen, loaded .357 magnum handgun, a scale, vacuum sealed bags, and letters and paraphernalia associated with the PDL Bloods gang, according to Yarbrough’s testimony.
During the search, agents also found several Western Union and Money Gram receipts in a manila envelope marked “minimum yards for custody delivery,” Yarbrough testified.
The receipts were made out to a cousin of Scott’s and to a woman named Lea Lawson, Yarbrough testified. He said agents tracked down Lawson, and she told them Scott was compensating her for accepting the payments on his behalf.
Yarbrough said he searched Facebook and found Scott’s profile under “Dray Scott.” He said photos in the account revealed Scott’s gang ties, specifically a photo of Scott wearing a red shirt marked “Dena Boy.”
“It caught my eye because it was red and it represented the blood gang,” Yarbrough said. He said he also found an online video titled “Dena Bloods Stick Together,” where men were wearing “Dena Boy” shirts and throwing up gang signs.
“The video appeared to have him in there,” Yarbrough testified.
Scott was arrested on Nov. 28, and the case against him was filed on Nov. 29, according to court records.
“He is no longer an employee. He was discharged as an employee on November 29,” said spokesman Bill Sessa, when asked about Scott’s employment with the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation. Scott had worked as a correctional officer with the department for at least 10 years, Sessa said.
Scott remains jailed on $1 million bail. He is due back in court on Jan. 2, 2014.