Former Prison Official Cops To Smuggling Contraband Into Manhattan Federal Lockup

A former Bureau of Prisons case manager has pleaded guilty to charges that she conspired with an inmate to smuggle contraband into the federal lockup in downtown Manhattan, which has regularly housed terrorists, mobsters, and narcotics kingpins.

During a hearing Wednesday in U.S. District Court, Nydia Ciancioso copped to a felony count related to her receipt of “unlawful gratuities” to smuggle cell phones and narcotics into the Metropolitan Correctional Center, where she began working in 1988.

The 41-year-old Ciancioso, pictured in the above mug shot, resigned her MCC post following her arrest last July. While Ciancioso could face a maximum of five years in prison, her plea agreement, signed January 18, indicates that her sentencing guidelines range is between eight and 14 months.

As TSG reported last September, a trusted prison orderly who worked for Ciancioso was central to the smuggling operation. Jorge “Geo” Torres, a convicted drug trafficker, arranged for a relative to provide cash to Ciancioso in return for the introduction of contraband into the MCC.

Ciancioso was arrested after accepting $2500--the rate for a smuggled cell phone—from Torres’s relative, who was cooperating with federal agents.

Torres, who was transferred out of the MCC the day of Ciancioso’s arrest, was sentenced in September to 24 years in prison for his role in a Bronx-based narcotics trafficking ring. As a manager of the drug gang, Torres was charged with murdering a competing drug dealer who encroached on his crew’s territory.

Torres has not been charged for his role in the prison smuggling operation.