Ocean County Woman Awaiting Sentencing In Drug Smuggling Scheme

Steven Saunders. (Photo courtesy New Jersey Attorney General's Office)
Steven Saunders. (Photo courtesy New Jersey Attorney General's Office)

TRENTON – A Toms River woman who pleaded guilty last May third-degree distribution of a controlled dangerous substance is still awaiting sentencing.

However, , Tasha N. Swain’s co-conspirator, Steven B. Saunders, 51, of Camden, was found guilty Thursday of conspiracy, official misconduct, bribery in official matters, and acceptance or receipt of unlawful benefit by a public servant for official behavior, possession of oxycodone with intent to distribute and fourth-degree distribution of marijuana. He will be sentenced Sept. 6.

Swain, 40, the girlfriend of Saunders co-conspirator Lakovia Shepherd, smuggled drugs and tobacco to inmates in the Southern State Correctional Facility in Maurice River. Saunders, a corrections officer, then received bribes from family and friends of inmates.

Funds were transferred to Swain using Western Union; she would then pay Saunders and purchase pills, marijuana and tobacco. Saunders was arrested by a State Trooper on Nov. 20, 2017, who found drugs and cash in the vehicle. Their smuggling operation unraveled after that.   

Shepherd is serving a 10-year sentence on a prior drug conviction. In this case he pleaded guilty in February and is awaiting sentencing.