A Manhattan jail guard was arrested Friday for allegedly lying during a probe after a loaded gun was found in an inmate’s cell, prosecutors announced.
Correction Officer Gregory McKenzie, 35, lied to two federal agents on Nov. 4 when he was questioned about using a burner phone to call and text with an inmate at a downtown lockup, a Manhattan federal indictment alleges.
An investigation was launched after a loaded .22-caliber gun was found on March 5, 2020, inside the wall of that same inmate’s cell at the Metropolitan Correctional Center, the notorious jail where Jeffrey Epstein killed himself, the court papers allege.
The six-year veteran jail guard from Danbury, Connecticut, allegedly bought the Samsung burner phone from a downtown shop on Jan. 30, 2020, minutes after he withdrew $120 cash from a nearby ATM, the indictment alleges.
McKenzie then used the phone to text and call the inmate — who had a contraband cellphone — and the inmate’s wife over the next two days, the feds allege.
Cellphone records placed McKenzie and the inmate’s wife at the same place in the Bronx at the same time on Jan. 31, before McKenzie reported for his shift at the jail at midnight on Feb. 1, the indictment alleges.
Then, during that shift, the inmate texted and called McKenzie, and moments later, the guard was seen on surveillance video going to the inmate’s cell alone and carrying something under his arm, the court papers allege.
Months later, when McKenzie was questioned during the investigation into the gun, he falsely denied buying and owning the burner phone and also denied calling the inmate and his wife, the indictment alleges.
He’s charged with one count of making false statements and one count of obstruction of justice and faces up to 25 years behind bars if convicted on both counts.
He was set to appear before a judge later Friday.
McKenzie’s criminal defense lawyer didn’t immediately return a request for comment.