Federal Prison FDC Miami Nurse Indicted On Contraband Charges
The Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) continues to struggle with staff involved in criminal activities. Ruben Montanez-Mirabal (Montanez), a nurse at the federal complex FDC Miami, was indicted on charges of bribery, providing contraband in a prison and possession with intent to distribute a controlled substance.
The investigation was the result of a November 2020 Department of Justice-Office of Inspector General (OIG) tip that Montanez was responsible for smuggling drug contraband into the federal facility which houses over 1,000 inmates. An investigation into these allegations by OIG developed additional sources of information, including an FDC Miami inmate who continues to cooperate with federal authorities.
In February 2022, the cooperating inmate was interviewed by a BOP investigator after a contraband cell phone was recovered from his cell. At that time, the inmate turned over information that he was paying Montanez for drugs through cash payments and allowing him to cruise in his high priced cars that he owned on the outside of prison. The primary drug of choice were legal papers soaked with a type of synthetic marijuana commonly known at K2. Each page had a value of $1,500. Montanez was caught on one delivery with 37 pages of K2-soaked legal papers and cigarettes.
I reached out to Eric Speirs, a corrections officer and President of AFGE Local 501 at FDC Miami, who told me that K2 has been a problem at the facility for years. “You can smell K2 when you hit the parking lot in the morning, “ Speirs told me, “and these drugs pose a direct safety issue for officers who are forced to inhale it and an indirect danger from unruly inmates who are high on these drugs. It’s a problem.”
According to the indictment, Montanez enjoyed sharing his lifestyle posts on Instagram with photos of him in an orange Lamborghini, a Rolls Royce and a McLaren. When one person wrote back to Montanez about how much he was paying for these cars Montanez responded, “Absolutely nothing. It’s all about having the right contact.” The cars were owned by the inmate at FDC Miami who was cooperating with authorities.
The previous BOP Director, Michael Carvajal, pled with BOP employees in March 2022 to help root out corruption. Carvajal’s initiative came after it was discovered that the warden, the chaplain and other staff members at the minimum-security prison camp in Dublin, CA were having sex with women prisoners at the facility. An Associated Press report in November 2021 stated that more than 100 federal prison workers had been arrested, convicted or sentenced for crimes since the start of 2019.
Newly appointed BOP Director Colette Peters gave testimony at a US Senate Judiciary Committee meeting on September 29 where she addressed corruption in the agency, “Another important aspect of prevention is creating a culture where reporting misconduct is encouraged and supported. Pursuant to the Standards of Employee Conduct, employees are required to report allegations of misconduct. Failure to report allegations of misconduct is itself misconduct.”
This prosecution of Montanez was the result of an inmate, not a staff member, coming forward to identify wrongdoing. This comes after the OIG issued a scathing report last month that the BOP often dismisses claims made by inmates regarding staff corruption.