On a cold November night in Northeastern Pennsylvania I was surrounded by police officers while driving a vehicle a mere two blocks from my final destination. Two squad cars blocked my front and another three vehicles pulled up from behind. As quickly as I could I stuffed a plastic cellophane wrapper from a cigarette pack, containing four 30 milligram oxycodone pills, down the back of my pants. The officers proceeded to search me and my vehicle for narcotics, weapons, or anything that could have put me in deeper trouble than I was already in. To their dismay nothing was found in my vehicle or on my person. During their search I was nervous that while they were shaking my pant legs the four pills secured down the back of my jeans would fall out. Luckily, the cellophane and pills hadn’t fallen out and my secret was not discovered. I was cuffed and thrown into the back of the police cruiser.
Despite the fact that they found nothing in my vehicle or on my person, I was being taken to jail for the initial charges that influenced the police to stop me. I “borrowed” a vehicle. I was sure to return it to the rightful owner but they didn’t seem to believe or care about my pleading testimony. So off I went to Monroe County Correctional Facility. Before heading to the jail we made a stop at the police station to handle the booking process. After I was booked I was put back into the cruiser and the officer ran back into the station to talk to the judge about an “unrelated issue”. I had belt cuffs on at this point. There was a belt they attached around my waste which the handcuffs were linked to. This allowed me to have a farther range of motion as I was cuffed with my hands in the front of my body. While the officer was in the station I worked my hands back and reached down the side of my jeans to find the cellophane. After about 30 seconds of a struggle I felt the crumpled cellophane and pulled it out of the back of my jeans. I crumpled it as much as possible without breaking the pills and put it underneath my tongue. It was safe to say I wasn’t going to try and make small talk with the arresting officer.
After getting to jail, that facility booking process began. I knew I was to be search rather liberally so I had to act quickly before they discovered my little treats. I was stripped down and right before the officer started his search I swallowed the cellophane. After the search was done and I was in my fabulous county orange attire I was put into a holding cell until I was to be moved. I immediately ran over to the lone stall, stuck my finger down my throat and “retrieved” the still intact cellophane. Waiting any longer could have ruined my ability to retrieve the pills. I stuffed the cellophane into county socks and waited until I was transferred to a cell in the main section of the jail. Let’s just say I slept well that first night in jail. Now this story was not to glorify drug use at all. It’s simply a real life example of how one may be able to get contraband into a correctional facility. There are many other ways and the black market of prison smuggling can be a lucrative venture for those who partake.
One of the largest ways that things like drugs and cellphones make their way into jails and prisons is through the individuals who are being paid to uphold the law inside of the facility, the correctional officers. In my opinion, there is not a jail or prison in America where this type of smuggling has not gone on. As you read this there is a state employed correctional officer sliding an inmate a package containing heroin or maybe even some marijuana.
In 2011 in Newark, New Jersey’s Northern State Prison, a correctional officer of 18 years, Luis Roman, was indicted on charges of smuggling heroin, marijuana, and cellphones to prisoners in the facility. A police investigation concluded that Roman was smuggling the contraband in by using his protective vest and boots. He has been arrested, charged and now is faced with the same reality as the individuals whom he was helping in the prison. This is just one of many cases of corruption by a correctional officer that take place every year. Due to higher safety and protective standards throughout the Department of Corrections it is making it a bit harder for officers to do this type of illegal smuggling, but it is still an issue and seems as though it will always be an issue. The other most common way of getting drugs into correctional facilities is through contact visits. In the prison system this is the most common way that contraband makes its way into the facility. Inmates will have their visitor, most commonly family members; sneak the drugs through the main checkpoint into the facility. Women are usually the best candidates for smuggling. They are less prone to suspicion and can hide the drugs very easily on their person. Some county jails offer work release programs for prisoners. They leave the facility to go to work then return immediately upon finishing. This is another common way that drugs are smuggled into jails. The inmate will receive the drugs while he is off the facility at his workplace, then smuggle them back into the jail upon his return. Methods such as taking apart deodorant sticks to conceal drugs in the center are very common. These inmates are searched very methodically, but inmates can be very savvy and creative when trying to get something illegal back into the jail. Anal cavities are a very common hiding place for individuals in jail or prison.
Officers do their best to stop drugs from entering the grounds but it is nearly impossible to stop all flow of contraband from hitting the main line. Inmates and those who are involved in drug smuggling will go to any lengths to beat the system. There are no tricks that haven’t been tried and many new ways of smuggling that will probably surface in the future. As officers and security get tighter, the criminals will adapt to these changes and make changes of their own. It seems as though drugs will always be a part of life inside of the walls of jails and prisons. The reality of this situation is recognized by prison officials and they certainly do their best to stop the illegal smuggling as much as they can.
Drug smuggling into correctional facilities is a very lucrative business, and as long as there is money to be made there will be individuals who continue to take risks and break the law. I hope this article provided some education on drug smuggling. If you feel this article wasn’t sufficient you can always get firsthand experience by entering the revolving door of the world of the department of corrections. I’m just kidding, that’s a bad idea.
By Corey V.
Filed under: Featured, Substance Abuse · Tags: Alcohol and Drugs, Anal cavities, black market, cell phones, cellophane wrapper, cigarette pack, correctional facilities, correctional officer, department of corrections, facility, Heroin, inmates, Jail, Luis Roman, marijuana, Monroe County Correctional Facility, New Jersey’s Northern State Prison, officer, prison guards, prisons, smuggling, smuggling drugs, weapons