Danelo Cavalcante prison guard charged with drug smuggling at jail

Antoine Williams, 27, worked as a prison officer at Chester County Jail where Danelo Cavalcante escaped from

Holly Hales
Wednesday 11 October 2023 12:10 BST
Chris Cuomo speaks with US Marshall who conducted Danelo Cavalcante capture

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Louise Thomas

Louise Thomas

Editor

A prison officer at the Philadelphia jail that Danelo Cavalcante infamously escaped from has been charged with smuggling and dealing drugs at the facility.

Antoine Williams, 27, was charged with possession with intent to deliver a controlled substance and unlawful activity on Tuesday.

The Philadelphia man is accused of bringing drugs inside Chester County Prison, in West Chester, by hiding them in bin bag rolls.

His alleged plot came undone when an inmate at the prison told another officer that his former cellmate had received suboxone from Mr Williams.

The cellmate, Jonathan Aguilera, was allegedly later paid through Cash App for helping to sell the drugs on to other inmates.

Another inmate came forward days later to say Mr Williams was selling suboxone, tobacco and K-2 by placing the drugs in small trash bags, according to District Attorney Deb Ryan’s office.

Authorities allege that Mr Williams regularly brought suboxone, marijuana and Percocet into the prison.

The unconventional method of drug distribution matched that allegedly carried out by another inmate back in May.

But, during that incident, the inmate was captured within minutes.

DA Ryan said in a statement that Mr Williams will feel the full force of the law if found guilty of the charges.

“The defendant was hired as a correctional officer to uphold the law and keep order in the prison, but he completely violated his position of authority,” she said.

Antoine Williams was hit with a string of drug charges
Antoine Williams was hit with a string of drug charges (DA Office)

“No one is above the law. My office will hold him accountable for his unlawful actions. We thank the Chester County Prison and the Chester County Detectives for their investigation into this egregious violation.”

A preliminary hearing for Mr Williams has been scheduled for 18 October and his bail is set at $150,000.

The chaos comes more than a month after convicted murderer Cavalcante escaped from the very same detention centre by crab-walking up a wall and pushing through razor wire in order to gain access to the prison’s roof.

Cavalcante’s escape prompted a two-week, multiagency manhunt and drew heavy criticism against the jail’s leadership.

After 14 days on the run, he was finally arrested on 13 September by a Border Patrol special operations unit.

During the 14 days he was on the run, Cavalcante managed to steal a van and travel more than 25 miles.
During the 14 days he was on the run, Cavalcante managed to steal a van and travel more than 25 miles. (Copyright 2023 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

The jail is now expected to install more than 75 new surveillance cameras around its premises to prevent a future incident.

Cavalcante escaped from the jail in Pocopson Township at around 8.50am on the morning 31 August.

The tower officer, who was tasked with surveilling the area where Cavalcante’s block was at the time of the escape, did not notify staff and was fired within days of the incident.

The inmate’s absence was only noticed during a head count when his block returned back inside around 9.50am after a basketball game.

The jail was then put into lockdown and the 911 centre was notified 10 minutes later.

Cavalcante escaped from the jail in Pocopson Township at around 8.50am on 31 August
Cavalcante escaped from the jail in Pocopson Township at around 8.50am on 31 August

During his time on the run, Cavalcante managed to steal a van and travel more than 25 miles. He also visited former associates and stole a .22 rifle.

Pennsylvania State Police announced the capture of Cavalcante on the morning of 13 September. He was caught by a police K-9 named Yoda, who was released onto Cavalcante after was tracked to a wooded area and resisted arrest.

After he was taken into custody, he told authorities how he managed to survive for two weeks without getting caught, from stealing watermelons from a farm to hiding his faeces to cover up his tracks.

He has since been moved to the maximum security State Correctional Institution Phoenix in Montgomery County.

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