Jail guard pleads to taking bribes

NEWARK – 

An Essex County corrections officer from Belleville has admitted accepting bribes in exchange for smuggling contraband — including cell phones and tobacco — into the county jail, U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman announced last week.

John Grosso, 41, pleaded guilty Thursday before U.S. District Judge Stanley R. Chesler to one count of conspiring to commit extortion, Fishman said.

According to the U.S. attorney’s office, Grosso admitted that, in December 2013, he agreed to accept cash in return for his assistance in smuggling cell phones and cigarettes to an inmate. Grosso met with the inmate’s relative in Secaucus to accept the contraband and a $1,000 payment before delivering the items.

Grosso faces a maximum of 20 years in prison and a fine of $250,000 when he is sentenced Aug. 19. He also must forfeit the $1,000 he was given.

– Karen Zautyk 

Karen Zautyk | Observer Correspondent