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Drugs hidden in lettuce found at NY prison

A corrections officer found latex glove finger tips stuffed with illegal drugs hidden in a head of lettuce

The Citizen

SENECA COUNTY, N.Y. — Corrections officers in New York state are reporting increased attempts to get contraband into prisons through the mail, including an incident in which someone tried to hide drugs inside a head of lettuce at a facility in Seneca County.

The New York State Correctional Officers and Police Benevolent Association, the union that represents state corrections officers, said Tuesday that one of its members last week found latex glove finger tips stuffed with illegal drugs hidden in a head of lettuce.

NYSCOPBA said the incident happened April 13 at Five Points Correctional Facility in Romulus. An officer saw the items while scanning a mailed head of lettuce with an X-ray machine. Tests ultimately showed that two ounces of synthetic marijuana, 15 grams cocaine powder and 43 assorted prescription pills were in the glove finger tips.

The drugs were mailed from an address in Hempstead, Long island, and an investigation is underway.

“With inmate visits suspended during this pandemic, more and more contraband is coming in through mailed packages,” said Mark Deburgomaster, NYSCOPBA western region vice president, in a press release. “Staff has done an excellent job seizing drugs concealed in packages mailed to inmates. The reality is, drugs are still getting into the hands of inmates through the mail.”

The union is urging the the state Department of Corrections and Community Supervisor to adopt a secured vendor program to cut down on contraband. Through such a program, people could only send items to inmates by purchasing them through vendors approved by the state. DOCCS had explored such a program but suspended it in 2018 amid complaints from prisoner advocacy groups that it was too restrictive and cutting off communication between inmates and families.


©2020 The Citizen, Auburn, N.Y.