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San Quentin guard gets prison time for death row smuggling

Row of small prison cells | Getty Images

A former San Quentin State Prison officer who smuggled cell phones to prisoners will now serve time in prison.

Keith Christopher, who smuggled at least 25 contraband cell phones to death row prisoners in 2019 and 2020, was sentenced Friday to 20 months of prison time, according to a press release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Northern District of California.

California’s law prohibits prisoners from possessing cell phones as the usage of cell phones by inmates may pose safety risks as they can direct criminal activity outside the prison.

Christopher coordinated with multiple others to smuggle the phones into the prison, and he received over $10,000 in bribes for his criminal actions. He pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit fraud and to two counts of accepting bribes.

In addition to his prison term, U.S. Senior District Judge Susan Illston also ordered Christopher to serve three years of supervised release after his prison term, which will start no later than May 25, 2023.

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