Prison cook in Riverside County facing bribery charges after tobacco, cellphones smuggled into state lockup

By in Press Enterprise on February 3, 2018

By City News Service

BLYTHE — A cook at a state prison in Blythe was in custody on bribery charges Friday for allegedly accepting money to smuggle items into the lockup.

Antonio Soria, 37, is charged with six counts of bribery, along with conspiracy and other charges, for allegedly agreeing to accept money to smuggle items into Ironwood State Prison.

Prosecutors allege that between November 2016 and May 2017, Soria was paid at least $4,250 by inmates’ family members and friends to smuggle tobacco and cellphones into the prison. Payments were allegedly made to Soria “via Moneygram and Walmart,” according to an arrest warrant declaration.

Last May, he was allegedly found with four vacuum-sealed bags of tobacco hidden in his work shoes, triggering an investigation by the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation’s Office of Internal Affairs, the declaration states.

He was being held at Riverside County’s Blythe jail on $30,000 bail, according to jail records. Those records show Soria was arrested by state agents.

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