NEWARK — A senior corrections officers at the Northern State Prison in Newark was indicted on charges he provided the potent opioid fentanyl to an inmate.

On several occasions between September and December 2016, Roberto Reyes-Jackson, 28, smuggled single-dose glassine bags of powder laced with fentanyl, according to Attorney General Christopher Porrino. His girlfriend paid Reyes over $200 to bring the folds, each with a panda face logo on them, according to the indictment. Reyes-Jackson also got marijuana for the inmate, authorities said.

The inmate would deal the drugs to other inmates who had friends and family wire money to the girlfriend, officials said.

“By allegedly smuggling fentanyl into prison, Reyes-Jackson put inmates and his fellow correction officers at grave risk. People are dying every day because drug dealers carelessly mix this super-potent opioid with heroin or disguise it as heroin or oxycodone, and medics and police have overdosed through mere contact with fentanyl in the course of their duties. By allegedly introducing this deadly drug into a secure prison environment, Reyes-Jackson showed a callous disregard for his duty and the lives of those he worked with every day,” Porrino said Thursday.

The names of the inmate and his girlfriend were not disclosed.

Federal drug officials have said fentanyl has the potential to be 50 times more powerful than heroin and a dose as small as 2 or 3 milligrams can be fatal. Preliminary figures show there were 800 fentanyl-related deaths in New Jersey in 2016.

Reyes-Jackson was charged with conspiracy, official misconduct, and bribery in official matters, all second-degree counts, as well as third-degree distribution of fentanyl and fourth-degree distribution of marijuana.

Contact reporter Dan Alexander at

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