Rikers Officers Fail To Notice Visitor’s Giant 12-Inch Knife During Security Check

February 10, 2015 | Prachi Gupta

Just months after the Department of Investigation showed how easy it is to get drugs, razor blades, and vodka into Rikers, the New York Daily News reports that a visitor made it past “initial screening” with a 12.5-inch butcher knife. The knife was discovered later “in a secret compartment on the side of his knapsack.”

Since the New York Times reported on the DOI’s findings in November, the beleaguered facility has beefed up security by posting drug-sniffing dogs at building entrances and X-raying the food and medication of officers. Officers within the facility do not know how the knife went undetected by the X-ray machine. “I was amazed when I saw the size of the thing,” said one source. “How the hell did he make it through?”

But department spokesman Jack Ryan wasn’t worried by the security hiccup. “Multiple security layers are in place,” he said. “In this case, our search uncovered a weapon that otherwise could have landed in the hands of an inmate. The system worked.”

Ruben Cortiez, the man who attempted to smuggle the knife when he tried to visit inmate Joel Benavides, has been arrested.

(Photo: Stijn Nieuwendijk)