A former Department of Correction officer from Dover has been sentenced to three years in prison after a case involving smuggling drugs and cell phones to inmates at the James T. Vaughn Correctional Center north of Smyrna.

A former Department of Correction officer from Dover has been sentenced to three years in prison after a case involving smuggling drugs and cell phones into the James T. Vaughn Correctional Center north of Smyrna.

Thomas N. Boyce Jr., age 51, of Dover, was sentenced Tuesday by U.S. District Court Judge Richard G. Andrews to 36 months incarceration. Boyce previously had pleaded guilty to three counts of conspiracy to commit extortion under color of official right, said David C. Weiss, Acting United States Attorney for the District of Delaware.

Boyce is scheduled to surrender Jan. 2, 2018, Weiss said.

According to statements made at sentencing and in documents filed in court, Boyce served as a Department of Correction officer at the Vaughn Correctional Center for 20 years, until 2015. In 2013 and 2014, Boyce smuggled drugs, including heroin, and cell phones to 16 different inmates in return for money, Weiss said. Boyce did so knowing those inmates were using the smuggled cell phones to orchestrate the smuggling of drugs and more phones into the prison.

Following the sentencing, Weiss stated, “The defendant was charged with keeping JTVCC safe. Instead, he committed an abuse of trust that made the prison manifestly less safe. Where his charge was to protect the inmates and his colleagues, the defendant’s prison smuggling endangered them. My office is committed to investigating and prosecuting corrupt prison employees. Today’s sentence should serve as a deterrent for correction officers who would smuggle contraband into a prison.”

The case involved a joint investigation by the  Delaware Department of Correction and the FBI.

Special Agent in Charge Gordon B. Johnson of the FBI's Baltimore Division said, "Few things threaten our society more than public servants who betray their oath for personal gain. The FBI in Delaware, along with our state and federal partners, are sending a strong message today that we will not tolerate corruption in the prison system which tarnishes the good work of the dedicated and committed correctional employees.”

The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Edmond Falgowski.