Corrections Officer Accused Of Smuggling Cold Cuts, Espresso Into NJ Prison For Inmate Indicted

UPDATE: A corrections officer who was charged with collecting up to $500 a month in bribes to smuggle cold cuts, espresso, jewelry and cologne into a New Jersey prison for a convict known as “Tommy Two Times” is now under indictment.

Suspended NJ Corrections Officer Werner Gramajo (right) / NJ State Prison Inmate Thomas De Vingo (left)

Suspended NJ Corrections Officer Werner Gramajo (right) / NJ State Prison Inmate Thomas De Vingo (left)

Photo Credit: Michele Ferlisi / NJDOC, Facebook (insets)

Werner Gramajo, a 46-year-old senior correctional officer at Northern State Prison in Newark, admitted only to delivering the pressed meats -- and not any of the other items -- after he was caught, New Jersey Attorney General Matthew J. Platkin said.

Gramajo, of Newark, also claimed that he wasn’t paid for it, Platkin said in announcing the indictment on Wednesday, Nov. 8.

The grand jury in Trenton told a different story.

It began when $40 in cash and a note asking that food be brought to “Tommy Two Times" were found in a high-security area off limits to inmates.

Thomas De Vingo of Nutley was serving a mandatory 8-year minimum sentence for robbing a gas station in his town at knifepoint while wearing a New York Rangers sweatshirt.

De Vingo – who coincidentally is due for parole on Thursday, Nov. 9 – had learned that Gramajo was having money problems, state authorities said.

Gramajo began working for the state in 2013 and was making nearly $80,000 a year at the time, records show.

An investigation by Platkin’s Office of Public Integrity and Accountability (OPIA) found that Gramajo “engaged in a months-long contraband smuggling arrangement” that began in December 2019 and continued until January 2021, the attorney general said.

Gramajo “provided [De Vingo] with cash, jewelry, eyeglasses, clothes, cold cuts and other foods, cologne, and stamps,” the attorney general said. “[Gramajo] was paid cash each month as consideration for supplying the contraband.

“Corrections officers are public servants and the majority of them honor their oaths and serve as examples to their community, as well as those under their care,” Platkin added. “But when anyone supervising and overseeing a correctional facility is also engaged in a conspiracy with an inmate, facilitating and participating in illegal activity, they will be detected and prosecuted.”

Gramajo has been suspended without pay until the charges are resolved, the state Department of Corrections has said.

Deputy Attorneys General Samantha Thoma and Rbrey Singleton secured the indictment, which charges him with:

• Conspiracy;

• Official misconduct;

• Bribery in official or political matters;

• Acceptance or receipt of an unlawful benefit by a public servant for official behavior;

• Tampering with public records or information.

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