City cops are accusing a guard at the Edmonton Remand Centre of smuggling drugs and lighters to inmates in the downtown clink.
That’s after police wrapped up a four-month investigation into claims that staff at the downtown holding facility made in November 2010 that drugs were being sent to prisoners there.
The investigation resulted in a guard, three inmates, and “two individuals from outside the prison,” being charged with a number of drug and trafficking related offenses, say city cops.
“There was one particular guard that was involved with bringing drugs into the institution who would further disseminate the drugs to other prisoners,” said Insp. Greg Preston, the head of the police service’s organized crimes unit.
“We know that drugs are getting into the institution and this was an opportunity for us to work on a very important matter, and unfortunately, this did involve a correctional officer,” he said.
Preston says the “two individuals” were responsible for getting and then giving the drugs to the guard, who would then allegedly hand over to the inmates.
And the guard was also allegedly paid cash by the individuals for making that delivery into the downtown jail, Preston said.
Police also say investigators seized a number of items form the guard’s car and home, including some cocaine, lighters, tobacco and marijuana. However, no drugs were ever seized at the remand centre by police, confirms Preston.
Drugs that are found in the prison are worth 10 times their street value, says Preston.
The lighters, which are banned in the prison because it’s also illegal to smoke tobacco to in the facility, usually sell for $100, Preston says.
“It’s like normal supply and demand,” said Preston. Preston says a bail of tobacco will also usually sell for $500 and the marijuana will sell for about $150 a gram inside the clink.
James Maloney, a spokesman with the province’s solicitor general’s office, says an internal investigation will be done at the remand centre to se if any policy changes are needed for its staff.
“This is going to take as long as it needs to take,” said Maloney. “Depending on what’s discovered, we will take appropriate action.
“The fact that the drugs were (allegedly) found before they actually entered the system is a good example of the effectiveness of our processes to keep drugs out of the institutions.”
Maloney says the 21-year-old guard has worked at the jail for two years and he has been “relieved of his duties.”
James Brian Johnstone, a correctional peace officer at the remand centre, is charged with conspiracy to commit an indictable offence — trafficking in a controlled substance for the purpose of trafficking cocaine, one count of possession of a controlled substance for the purpose of trafficking marijuana and one count of possession of a controlled substance.
Robin Flynn Chelmick, 31, Nelson Moriera Alves, 24, Jeffery Mark Caines, 37, Jeremy William Cardinal, 31, and David Thomas Read, 23, are each charged with conspiracy to commit an indictable offence — trafficking in a controlled substance.
Three inmates at the centre were charged by police in November 2010 after staff at the jail discovered small amounts of meth and prescription drugs in a letter that was addressed to an inmate.
The letter, which was found by staff in July, was labeled “client” privileged.
The Edmonton Sun
April 04, 2011