Guyana Guardian

More drugs, cellular phones and other contraband found at New Amsterdam prison

Police in B division and prison authorities have launched an investigation to determine how a bag containing marijuana, a cellular phone, and other contraband items had found its way over a section of the fencing at the New Amsterdam Prison on Saturday afternoon.

Deputy Divisional Commander, Senior Superintendent Edmond Cooper, who is leading the team of investigators, disclosed that while there is certainty that the illicit items were found, the investigation itself is dogged by some existing inconsistencies.

He made this observation since the time frame that the surveillance footage had recorded a bag being tossed over the fence, is quite different from the time that a reporting prison officer said he had seen the bag coming over the fence.

Considering the essence of time in any investigation, the Deputy Commander is of the view that such a pertinent piece of fact (an accurate recording of the time of the incident) ought to be consistent if an effective and result-oriented investigation is to be done.

The said prison officer had reportedly witnessed the incident and thereafter, alerted his superiors to the find.

This publication was able to ascertain that at around 2:30pm on Saturday last, the prison officer in question, discovered the bag lying on the ground inside the compound of the prison, and close to the eastern fence.

Upon Checking the bag the officer discovered 1.15kg of marijuana, a cellular phone, several packs of cigarettes, and 300 zip lock plastic bags.

The find at the New Amsterdam Prison came one day after members of the Joint Services were able to unearth similar items at the Timehri Prison.

Deputy Divisional Commander, Senior Superintendent Edmond Cooper

Deputy Divisional Commander, Senior Superintendent Edmond Cooper

However, when Deputy Commander Cooper and his team of investigators visited the prison to carry out an investigation, they later left the correctional facility not being satisfied with the prison officer’s explanation, since certain core elements of it still remain blurred.

A few weeks ago, Senior Superintendent Cooper had led a party of 20 police and seven prison officers on an operation which saw them thoroughly searching two dormitories and a few holding cells at the said New Amsterdam Prison.

Upon conclusion of that search, they were able to seize eight cellular phones, three cellular phone batteries, one cellular phone display, three earphones, five cellular phone chargers, sixteen cigarette lighters, two tattoo machines, five improvised weapons, twenty packs of cigarettes and three grams of cannabis.

Nonetheless, these repeating prison finds have been like an albatross around the neck of the top brass of the prison administration and the police force, since suspicions are rife as to how the illicit items continue to find its way into the confines of the prison.

Many are of the view that a handful of rogue prison officers are in collusion with the prisoners or their outside cohorts who supposedly hire the prison officers to traffic the illicit items.

However, the Deputy Commander has reiterated his intentions to repeatedly widen the scope of his investigations even if it has to include the surveillance of prison officers.

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