BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – One of two former guards recently fired after being accused of bringing illegal items into a jail has pleaded guilty.
Charles Hunt, Jr. pleaded guilty Tuesday to first degree promoting prison contraband. The 49-year-old Buffalo man admitted smuggling over an ounce of marijuana and a cellphone into the Erie County Holding Center on August 2.
Hunt was arrested last month along with 33-year-old Eric Stevens of Cheektowaga, who prosecutors say was caught in an unconnected case bringing a lighter into the Holding Center. Both guards were fired. Stevens’ case will likely go before a grand jury.
Stevens gave investigators a lengthy confession, according to court documents. In it, Stevens allegedly admits buying the lighter for suspected cocaine dealer Wahabbi Halton, an inmate at the Holding Center.
Stevens said Halton asked him on three different occasions for a cigarette lighter. In July, Stevens stopped at a gas station on Niagara Street, bought a Bic lighter, then handed it to Halton at the jail. Stevens claims he received nothing in return.
Why did he do it? Stevens says he didn’t know what would happen if he said no. Stevens told investigators his wife also works at the Holding Center and he was worried the inmate might try to harm her if he didn’t give him the lighter.
Stevens spent seven-and-a-half years as a jail deputy. Hunt was a county employee for 20 years and spent the last year working in the jail.
Hunt could be sentenced up to seven years in state prison in January.