West Midlands Police have arrested two men suspected of plotting to supply drug-soaked sheets of paper to inmates at prisons across the UK.
The men were arrested during dawn raids at two addresses in Wolverhampton 8 December, 2021.
It is suspected they are behind a series of letters posted to ten prisons that contained sheets of writing paper soaked in a solution of synthetic drugs like mamba or spice.
The letters were intended for inmates who it is believed would tear off strips of the A4 lined paper to smoke.
But, they were intercepted by prison security staff who noticed the letters – of which nearly 30 have been recovered – were discoloured and tinged around the edges.
The letters were linked having spotted similarities of handwriting and common spelling mistakes. This led police to addresses in the Bilston area where we forced entry and arrested men aged 41 and 33.
Police seized a drone and several ‘micro’ mobile phones hidden under a kitchen plinth that are the type offenders most often try to smuggle into prisons.
Officers also recovered several litres of solvent which is used in the drug dissolving process.
Detective Inspector Tom Bowman from the Prison Intelligence Unit at West Midlands Regional Organised Crime Unit said: “Tests have shown the sheets of paper had been soaked in a solution of water and synthetic cannabinoid before likely being oven-dried.
“The sheets of paper were concealed inside envelopes claiming to contain private and confidential material, such as legal documents, in the hope they wouldn’t be open to the same level of scrutiny as personal mail.
“The supply of drugs into prisons causes serious issue for the prison service in terms of the violence or health concerns of prisoners who take these substances.
“This case shows that offenders will use increasingly innovative methods to try and smuggle drugs and other banned items into prison – but working with the prison service we are determined to stop the supply and put offenders behind bars.”
The letters were sent between July 2019 and November 2021 to HMPs Birmingham, Hewell, Featherstone, Oakwood, Brinsford, Whitemoor, Ranby, Swinfen Hall and Lancaster Farms.
Prisons Minister Victoria Atkins said: “These arrests demonstrate the importance of our £100m investment in prison security measures – not just letter scanners but X-ray body scanners, drugs dogs, and other detection equipment.
“These all help us to clamp down on the drugs that fuel violence in our jails, and I commend our excellent prison staff and police colleagues for their vigilance in this case.”