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Deputies caught smuggling drugs into jail
One had 2 lbs. of marijuana in his home
Michael Luke -   May 11, 2006

Acosta Kittles, 33, Kenner and Shane Saltaformaggio, 24, Luling
Acosta Kittles, 33, Kenner and Shane Saltaformaggio, 24, Luling

Two corrections officers were arrested last week and charged with attempting to bring drugs into Nelson Coleman Correctional Facility in St. Charles Parish.

In the first incident, a Kenner man was arrested for trying to smuggle drugs and other forbidden items to inmates. Acosta F. Kittles, 33, 625 Vanderbilt Ln. was arrested and charged with four counts of attempting to introduce contraband into a penal facility and four counts of malfeasance in office.

According to police reports, the investigation began when the Special Investigations Division - which includes narcotics - received a tip that Kittles was sneaking illicit items into the jail, such as marijuana.

"The investigation started in February, when we received information that marijuana and other drugs were finding their way into the institution," said Sheriff Greg Champagne.

Kittles, a corrections officer since 2002, contacted an undercover agent to receive $200 owed to him for smuggling cigarettes and marijuana to an inmate. On May 2, Kittles sought an additional payment of $300 for sneaking a cellular phone into the jail. The undercover agent posed as an outside source for the inmate who was receiving the contraband. In the cellular phone operation, the bills were marked.

When retrieving the marked bills, a search of Kittles' home was conducted, resulting in the seizure of 2 pounds of marijuana.

A warrant will likely be issued by the Kenner Police Department for the drugs, and Kittles likely faces a possession with the intent distribute charge for the amount of marijuana. This end of the investigation was conducted with members from the Drug Enforcement Agency, Kenner P.D. and Terrebonne Parish Sheriff's Office.

A day after Kittles' arrest, another correctional officer was arrested for smuggling contraband into the facility. Shane Charles Saltaformaggio, 24, 358 Evelyn Drive, Luling was charged with four counts of introducing contraband into a penal facility and four counts of malfeasance in office.

During a seven-month investigation, Saltaformaggio admitted sneaking drugs and other contraband into Nelson Correctional Center for payment. Saltaformaggio admitted smuggling cigarettes, marijuana, crack cocaine and ecstasy into the jail.

"We don't expect any additional arrests on deputies," said Champagne, as all information centered on Saltaformaggio and Kittles. Champagne said that the investigation took place entirely in-house, only using additional police forces for assistance.

Both deputies were terminated immediately, and both had bonds set at $150,000 by Judge Granier. As of Monday, each was still in custody. Aside from the marijuana at Kittles' home, for each count, the deputies face up to five years in prison, making twenty years a possibility.

"As distasteful as this case is, the sheriff's office got this information and acted on it. I am proud that we conducted this investigation in-house and we cleaned up this problem," said Sheriff Champagne.

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