Man sentenced to 35-70 months in state prison for drug smuggling ring at BCCF

A 35-year-old man pleaded guilty Thursday for his involvement in a drug smuggling ring inside the Bucks County Correctional Facility and was sentenced to 35 to 70 months in state prison.

Vincent McCandless Sr., 35, was among nine men that included former Bucks County corrections officer Joseph J. Jennings charged in June 2020 with the scheme to smuggle Suboxone strips into the jail to distribute among inmates. McCandless has a juvenile son who was also charged in the plot.

On Thursday, McCandless pleaded guilty to contraband and criminal conspiracy and was sentenced by Bucks County Common Pleas Judge Jeffrey L. Finley to 35 to 70 months in state prison to be served after he completes the sentence that landed him in prison. McCandless was serving 4 ½ years to 10 years in state prison at the time of his arrest.

The Bucks County Detectives Drug Strike Force and Bucks County Correctional Facility Investigators allege in an affidavit of probable cause that Jennings smuggled Suboxone into the jail on multiple occasions between October 2018 and July 2019 while employed as a guard assigned to the restrictive housing unit at the Doylestown Township facility.

Jennings, 32, of Warminster, provided the drugs to McCandless Sr., who then distributed the drugs to other inmates in the jail. On the outside, Joseph Robert Wilson, 40, of Philadelphia, and McCandless’s juvenile son supplied Jennings with the Suboxone.

Inmates who purchased the drugs paid through various methods, often soliciting family members to wire money to Wilson, or deposit funds into McCandless’s prison commissary account.

Wilson and Travis Davies, 33 of Levittown, previously pleaded guilty for their roles in the ring and McCandless’s juvenile son was adjudicated delinquent earlier this year.  

Five others charged in the ring have pre-trial hearings scheduled for next month. They are:

Jennings; Joseph Korhan, 48; Richard Dzielinski, 41, of Philadelphia; Robert Monacelli, 28, of Falls Township; and Jonathan King, 31, of Wilkes Barre.

This case was investigated by the Bucks County Detectives Drug Strike Force and Bucks County Correctional Facility Investigators. Agents of the Pennsylvania Parole Board, as well as the Philadelphia Police Department’s Intensive Drug Investigation Squad and PPD 26th District Violence Reduction Unit assisted in the investigation.

The case is being prosecuted by Deputy District Attorney Mary Kate Kohler.

Media Contact: Manuel Gamiz Jr, 215.348.6298, mgamiz@buckscounty.org

Criminal charges are allegations subject to proof in court. Defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.