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Jail officers crack mobile phone smuggling route

PRISON officers have cracked a mobile phone smuggling route into one of the country's largest jails.

Three mobile phones were found hidden in a van making a delivery to the prison.

An intelligence-led operation confirmed a long-held suspicion about the supply of phones and drugs into prisons.

The confirmation came at Cloverhill remand prison in west Dublin.

Prison authorities set a trap to catch the man behind the smuggling and were waiting for him to arrive at the jail.

It is understood he was employed by an inner-city company contracted to the Prison Service Escort Corps.

Sources at the jail said: "The man was admitted as usual and went through the customary procedure, where he declared one mobile phone.

"But once inside a sniffer dog was sent into action and three mobile phones were found."

The man was detained by the prison authorities, who alerted gardai.

Suspicion

Prison sources said certain individuals making deliveries and providing other services to the country's jails have been suspected of smuggling contraband.

Various service providers have access to a number of areas of the prison complex.

Prison officers themselves have long been under suspicion and two are currently serving sentences for smuggling drugs and phones into Mountjoy jail.

In December 2009, prison officer Dillon O'Brien (37) was given a four-year sentence for smuggling drugs and mobile phones into Mountjoy.

He was in charge of the B3 landing in the jail, and trafficked heroin and a mobile phone to convicted murderer Thomas Hinchon. He had previously trafficked other items, including phones and vodka.

Last month another prison officer, father-of-two Jarlath Walsh (40), was sentenced to five years after being found guilty of trying to smuggle more than €20,000 worth of drugs into Mountjoy.

He pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to possession of cocaine, cannabis and cannabis resin with intent to supply at the prison.

cmallon@herald.ie


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