Contraband unearthed at NA prison in latest raid on penitentiaries

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The contraband unearthed at the New Amsterdam facility

A search conducted on the New Amsterdam (NA) Prison on Saturday between 06:30h and 09:30h by officers of the Guyana Police Force and the Guyana Prison Service has resulted in 14 cellphones, 5 improvised weapons, 22 lighters, wires, 12 chargers,11 earpieces, two makeshift weapons , two SIM cards , one watch, and 12 grams of cannabis being found and confiscated.

This most recent find comes on the heels of searches carried out at the Lusignan and Camp Street Prisons on Friday.

At the Lusignan, East Coast Demerara penitentiary, the search commenced at 06:00h and ran until 08:15h. During the exercise, a number of prohibited items were found in the possession of inmates.

The items recovered at the Lusignan penitentiary

These include four small plastics containing a quantity of cannabis, 10 lighters, four improvised weapons, 30 razor blades, nine needles, a pair of scissors, a piece of broken glass, two metal nails, three geometry set compasses, one metal spoon, two cellphone batteries, six cellphones, five earphones, seven chargers, five sim cards, two memory cards, and a quantity of wires.

Meanwhile, over at the Georgetown prison, the exercise there lasted much longer. It started around 06:05h and went until 09:13h.

The items recovered at the Camp Street penitentiary

The following illicit items were found in the possession of inmates: 13 cellular phones, three cellular phone chargers, eight packs and 10 loose Bristol cigarettes, 21 cigarette lighters, 226 grams of suspected cannabis, small transparent ziplock bags, a quantity of improvised weapons, and three hacksaw blades.

According to the Police Force, there were no incidents during the two exercises.

Contraband smuggling has long been a perennial problem within the prison system and this is compounded by the fact that both prison and Police Officers are facilitating the illegal trade, which is said to be a “big business”.

While the authorities have been struggling to curb the illegal practice, there has been a breakthrough on the apparent network among rogue prison officers. In fact, only in October, four prison officers were arrested after they smuggled a bottle of rum and a pack of cigarettes into the Lusignan Prison the weekend prior. These officers were subsequently charged and interdicted from duty.

In addition, another two more ranks found themselves in hot water following the discovery of illegal items at two separate prison facilities.

In Berbice, 1032 grams of suspended marijuana and 39 packs of cigarettes was found in the New Amsterdam Prison and a prison officer had admitted to conspiring with inmates to hide the contraband that were thrown over the fence.

Meanwhile, another prison officer at the Timehri penitentiary was taken into custody after he was implicated by an inmate regarding the presence of 584 grams of marijuana in the compound.

Furthermore, five other prison officers were relieved of their duties back in July after they were fingered in an incident whereby a parcel containing cannabis had been thrown into the Lusignan Prison Holding Bay area.

Director of Prisons (ag) Gladwin Samuels had disclosed in September that so far for the year, some 28 prison officers have been dismissed; 11 for facilitating or directly smuggling contrabands into the prisons system.

The Prisons Director added that there are 12 ranks currently interdicted from duty; nine of whom have been charged either departmentally or criminally for trafficking-related activities.

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