Guards Prevent Prisoners From Landing Heroin
by Mike McIntyre, (11 Jul 2006) Winnipeg Free Press Manitoba
A potential prison crisis was averted last week when a guard at Stony Mountain Institution prevented a shipment of highly-dangerous heroin from being smuggled inside.
The July 2 seizure is the largest in Stony's history and marks the first time heroin has been found on the grounds of the medium-security prison.
Spokesperson Lisa Waddell told the Free Press yesterday the guard was sitting in a tower overlooking the prison grounds when he saw an inmate walk over to the perimeter fencing and attempt to grab a package.
The inmate was immediately confronted by other staff members and the package retrieved. It contained heroin, morphine and marijuana that could have netted more than $34,000 inside the walls of the prison.
"It's our largest seizure, based on the fact we haven't caught heroin going in before and that would obviously drive up the price inside," she said.
Prison officials estimate that drugs are worth about 10 times their street value inside prisons. Waddell said prison officials are relieved inmates were prevented from getting their hands on heroin, a highly addictive drug that usually gives users a surge of euphoria and can cause wild, unpredictable behaviour.
An investigation is continuing to identify the source of the drugs, which had been dropped off by a prison visitor on the other side of the fence. No charges have been laid.
Waddell attributes three other drug seizures since June 26 to effective detection and enforcement by guards. They include:
* On June 26, a drug-sniffing dog was called to examine the belongings of an inmate who was being placed in segregation. Crack cocaine, marijuana and pharmaceuticals were found.
* On June 27, two inmates returning to their cells following visits were spot-checked. They were clean -- but prison officials found a package lying nearby that contained nearly $8,000 worth of crack cocaine and marijuana.
* On July 4, a prison visitor was subjected to a check by the dog unit. She failed the sniff test -- and a package of drugs was seized. The drugs and woman were held for RCMP. She is now facing a charge of possession for the purpose of trafficking.
"The message is clear. Do not come to our institution and try to introduce drugs," Waddell said.