Prisoner informed on 'Joy drug officer

Cormac Byrne

A MOUNTJOY prison officer who tried to smuggle a cocktail of drugs into the prison was caught after a prisoner tipped off authorities.

After prison authorities were notified they contacted gardai who had been keeping the prison officer under observation.

According to sources, the officer was spotted receiving the array of drugs on Sunday, prompting the authorities to launch a sting operation yesterday morning.

When the officer arrived for work at 7am, he and his fellow prison staff were routed through the St Patrick's Institute before they were searched and the stash was discovered.

The 39-year-old prison officer, with 12 years experience, was singled out for a thorough search and drugs were found strapped to his leg, more were found in a later search of his car.

The initial haul included 450g of cannabis resin, which had a street value of around €2,250 but would probably fetch up to €4,500 in the prison because of the recent clampdown on drugs.


A further haul of around €5,000 worth of drugs was found in the officer's car.

Also recovered were small quantities of heroin and cocaine, some cannabis herb, 400 tablets, known as D10s, which can be bought on prescription to treat a range of conditions including alcohol withdrawal, anxiety and tension, and 300 steroid tablets.

He was arrested at Mountjoy Garda Station and can be held for up to 24 hours.

The Prison Officers Association said it would not comment on the specific incident but added that any of its members involved in drug trafficking would have no support from the organisation.

"The actions of the few can bring disgrace and embarrassment to all of the hard-working prison officers around the country, who would have no tolerance of or take part in any form of illegal activity," a statement said.

"Prison officers are the people on the front line in the fight against drugs entering our prisons.

"They do everything possible, as has been well documented, to block the flow of drugs into prison and many have been injured while doing this very difficult and challenging work."

Yesterday morning's arrest is evidence that gangs operating in Mountjoy have had to resort to extreme tactics to smuggle drugs into the prison following a crackdown by new Mountjoy chief Ned Whelan.


The Mountjoy governor has also brought in new guidelines to deal with the drug problem.

They include more intensive screening for visitors, the ending of physical contact between certain prisoners and their visitors and the erection of a €200,000 drug net designed to stop drugs being catapulted over the perimeter wall.