A racketeering scheme at Maryland’s largest state prison, The Eastern Correctional Institution (ECI) in Westover, USA was uncovered following a tip off from a Prison Guard.
On September 29th 2016, 80 people including 18 correctional officers, 35 inmates and 27 “outside facilitators” (someone on the outside that delivered food to the Correctional Officers to smuggle inside the facility) were named in the two indictments with orchestrating a vast contraband smuggling enterprise that traded drugs, tobacco, cellphones and pornographic DVD’s to prisoners for money and sex.
The outside facilitators would deliver the contraband to the Correctional Officers, who would then smuggle it on their persons. Once inside the facility they would deliver the pre-ordered goods to the inmates, who in turn would then resell it to other inmates. The most common contraband was Suboxone and tobacco.
However, the presence of cellphones drove the smuggling ring!
Rod J. Rosenstein, US Attorney for the District of Maryland at a press conference said, “The presence of cellphones allowed for the inmates to place orders for contraband to the outside facilitators,” Rosenstein said. “Some people assume prisons are like an island, where we can lock up people and they won’t have contact with the outside. It doesn’t work that way — you have three shifts of correctional officers coming through, you have delivery men and repair men and inmates coming in and out.”
In the indictments it was stated that although Correctional Officers and other ECI employees had to pass through security screening at the entrance to ECI they were able to hide contraband on their persons. It has also been suggested that Correctional Officers returned to their cars during breaks in their shifts to retrieve contraband.
Not all security screening is appropriate to the task and in this case the security screening used could not detect ingested or cavity hidden contraband.
The SOTER RS is a low dosage full body scanner which combines ultra low radiation with maximum visibility, for use at airports and prisons. Within seconds the SOTER RS reveals hidden items, such as weapons or narcotics, diamonds, or any stolen or smuggled goods. It doesn’t even have to be metal. The SOTER shows a clear difference between human tissue and other materials. Even ingested or camouflaged items will be shown.
The SOTER RS will increase the level of security operations previously possible through the use of conventional metal detectors. Non metallic objects hidden under clothes, in natural cavities or within the human body cannot be detected by conventional metal detectors and typically, these non-detectable items, such as narcotics, explosives, precious stones, plastic weapons, or other contraband, can only otherwise be detected by highly intrusive total body searches.
Stephen Moyer, secretary of the Maryland department of public safety and correctional services, said, “We’re working tirelessly to root out corruption within the prison system. We will find anybody who is corrupt, we will prosecute you and send you to prison.”
Each defendant faces a maximum of 20 years in Prison.