Pubdate: Tue, 21 Dec 2010
Source: Irish Times, The (Ireland)
Copyright: 2010 The Irish Times
Author: Jamie Smyth


A PRISON officer has been arrested by gardai on suspicion of
attempting to smuggle drugs into Mountjoy Prison.

The Irish Prison Service said the officer (39) was caught in
possession of cocaine, heroin and cannabis when he arrived at the jail
to begin work at 7.30am yesterday.

The drugs, which were strapped to his leg, were identified during a
screening by security guards at Mountjoy Prison.

A spokesman for the Irish Prison Service said this type of security
screening was routine.

"The prison service is determined to clamp down on all avenues of drug
trafficking into prisons," the spokesman added.

Garda Sgt Tony Connaughton of the Garda Press Office said the man was
being held in custody at Mountjoy Garda station under section 4 of the
Criminal Justice Act.

It is claimed the prison officer had taped 450g of cannabis, 350g of
tablets and a quantity of heroin and cocaine to his leg in an attempt
to smuggle it into the prison.

The Prison Officers Association said it would not comment on the
specific incident but added that any of its members involved in drug
trafficking would have no support from the organisation.

"The actions of the few can bring disgrace and embarrassment to all of
the hard-working prison officers around the country, who would have no
tolerance of or take part in any form of illegal activity," a
statement said.

"Prison officers are the people on the front line in the fight against
drugs entering our prisons.They do everything possible, as has been
well documented, to block the flow of drugs into prison and many have
been injured while doing this very difficult and challenging work."

Mountjoy Prison operates as a drug-free regime, which aims to prevent
the smuggling and use of illicit drugs.

Figures released by the Department of Justice to The Irish Times in
October show there have been 1,074 seizures of drugs at Mountjoy since
the start of 2009. This compares with 1,398 seizures in the other 13
prisons in the Republic combined.

The increase in drug seizures across the prison system is being
attributed to the intensified searching regime which was officially
launched in May 2008.

In February this year, a prison officer was jailed for five years for
trying to smuggle drugs and other contraband into Limerick Prison.

Thomas Corry (52), Aughrim, Scarriff, Co Clare, was caught with a bag
containing cocaine, cannabis resin, 500 tranquilliser tablets, 31
mobile phones, 34 phone chargers, 22 bluetooth headsets and seven Sim
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