NEWARK — A senior correctional police officer at Northern State Prison has been arrested and charged with bribery and conspiracy.

According to the Essex County Prosecutor's Office, 31-year-old Christopher Smoaks received payment from an inmate's relative in exchange for smuggling "suspected tobacco" to the inmate on Oct. 16.

Smoaks was arrested in the prison the next day when investigators recovered bags of "suspected tobacco" hidden inside his uniform, the prosecutor's office said.

"Officers who accept money in return for violating our laws severely damage the public's trust in law enforcement and the criminal justice system as a whole," said Jessica Levinson Apostolou, acting assistant prosecutor in the professional standards bureau of the prosecutor's office.

Smoaks, of Jersey City, is scheduled to appear in court in December, according to officials. At that point, the matter may be referred to a grand jury.

Additional criminal charges could be brought against him, the prosecutor's office said.

Dino Flammia is a reporter for New Jersey 101.5. You can reach him at

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