Prison unit manager on drugs charges

BY KERRY WILLIAMSON
Last updated 13:06 05/06/2009

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A Rimutaka Prison unit manager, three prisoners, and two other people are facing a range of cannabis-related offences following a police and Corrections Department bust.

Four men - one of whom is the Rimutaka unit manager - and two women will be charged with more than 20 offences relating to cannabis supply, cultivation and conspiracy.

The unit manager was charged yesterday, and the three prisoners are due in court later today.

The joint police and Corrections Department investigation named Operation Wire had ended today with the execution of search warrants at the prison and a number of addresses in Wellington city and the Hutt Valley, said Detective Senior Sergeant Darrin Thomson.

The charges were the result of information provided by Corrections in April indicating some people were supplying cannabis to Rimutaka Prison inmates.

"Due to the timeliness and quality of the information provided by Corrections we were able to investigate a number of persons who were allegedly in the early stages of setting up a cannabis growing and supply operation," he said.

Mr Thomson said close liaison with Corrections had allowed police to be "very effective in disrupting this syndicate".

They had been working closely with Corrections for the past month, he said.

"This is an excellent example of inter-agency cooperation that has enabled police to move quickly and effectively," Mr Thomson said.

"We believe the supply of cannabis was intended for Rimutaka inmates and the wider drug community".

Corrections Department chief executive Barry Matthews said he expected "a high level of honesty and integrity from staff".

"The actions of one person should not detract from the hard work, dedication and professionalism shown by staff at Rimutaka Prison and across the country."

- with MICHAEL FOX, Stuff.co.nz

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- The Dominion Post

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