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Attempt to smuggle porn, drugs and phones in gift-wrapped box into prison lands former guard behind bars

AMERICAN TALIBAN
The federal correctional complex in Victorville.
(Eric Reed / Associated Press)

A former federal corrections officer will soon be a federal prisoner after he was caught trying to smuggle porn, phones, electronics and drugs into a Victorville prison for an inmate in exchange for money, prosecutors announced Friday.

Ignacio Adrian Sobers Jr., 31, was convicted in March of one count of acceptance of a bribe by a public official and was sentenced Friday to six months in federal prison followed by six months of home detention, the U.S. Attorney’s Office announced.

It’s unlikely that Sobers would be housed in Victorville where he used to be a guard, officials said.

Sobers’ conviction followed a year-long probe that ended in January when investigators found the prohibited contraband, literally gift-wrapped, in Sobers’ possession during a sting on Jan. 21 in San Bernardino, according to the criminal complaint.

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Sobers was taken into custody after an inmate identified as “C.J.” revealed to authorities that Sobers was his contact for contraband, court papers say.

Authorities had been investigating how contraband was making its way into the Victorville facility when, during an interview with officers, C.J. confessed to being involved.

C.J. has a rap sheet filled with convictions for violent offenses outside of prison and a string of violations inside of prison related to smuggling and told investigators he had been using his girlfriend in Oakland as go-between to pay Sobers for smuggling in items, court documents show.

Sobers had been paid up to $7,000 over multiple incidents, C.J. told the officers, according to the complaint.

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In December, Sobers allegedly smuggled in two cell phones, 3 ounces of marijuana and 5 ounces of methamphetamine, the complaint said.

C.J. told investigators on Jan. 20 that Sobers was expected to receive his next package of items the following day.

After C.J. convinced his girlfriend to cooperate, authorities set up a sting.

C.J.’s girlfriend, identified only as A.J. in the criminal complaint, drove down from Oakland and had Sobers meet her next to a Burger King parking lot in San Bernardino the night of Jan. 21, documents say.

Sobers arrived and stepped into A.J.’s car, where she gave him a Holiday Inn Express envelope stuffed with $1,000 cash and a gift-wrapped box holding one cellphone and charger, two MP3 music players, one iPod Touch device, four pornographic magazines, a multi-DVD set of pornographic movies, and two baggies that appeared to hold heroin and balloons, respectively, the complaint said.

When the exchange was complete and Sobers got into his car, authorities closed in.

joseph.serna@latimes.com

For breaking California news, follow @JosephSerna on Twitter.

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