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Up, up and going away? Bid to smuggle ‘leafy substance’ into prison via balloon goes bust

Feb 25, 2022 | Media Partners, The GrowthOp

This post is presented by our media partner The Growth Op
View the original article here.

Feigned festive delivery to New York correctional facility ends with woman facing drug charges

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A 26-year-old woman who tried to smuggle synthetic cannabinoids into a New York prison has been charged with criminal possession of a controlled substance with intent to sell and promoting prison contraband.

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The botched delivery occurred at the maximum-security Upstate Correctional Facility in Malone, N.Y. on Feb. 20, notes a press release from the New York State Police (NYSP).

Arriving at the prison, staff there predictably decided to check out the two balloons, according to My Champlain Valley. Inside, they could see what appeared to be a leafy substance, adds My Malone Telegram.

  1. A seized envelop sent to a correctional facility that contained some drug-soaked paper. / PHOTO BY WEST MIDLANDS POLICE

    Spelling mistakes trip up two men arrested for smuggling papers soaked in synthetic weed into 10 prisons

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    Inmate smuggles letters, children’s drawings laced with synthetic weed into jail

  3. Last Friday, both women pleaded not guilty in court to a charge of drug trafficking. / PHOTO BY GETTY IMAGES/ISTOCKPHOTO

    Women nabbed for slippery attempt to smuggle lotion bottles of cannabis into prison

Prison staff informed the NYSP that a visitor was trying to bring contraband into the facility. Police responded at about 1:42 p.m. and upon testing the substance, determined that it was positive for synthetic cannabinoids.

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The woman is scheduled to reappear in court on Mar. 1.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that synthetic cannabinoids are various types of man-made chemicals that some people use as an alternative to marijuana.

“These seemingly innocent little packages of ‘fake weed’ can cause serious side effects that are very different from those of marijuana,” the CDC cautions. Because the products can be toxic, people who smoke them “can react with rapid heart rate, vomiting, agitation, confusion and hallucinations,” it adds.

The list of individual contraband items in New York correctional facilities is long, but at its heart, “contraband is anything an incarcerated person is not allowed to have in prison,” whether by law or by correctional facility rules, explains NY Criminal Attorney.

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Promoting prison contraband in the first degree is a felony punishable by one to seven years in prison and a $6,400 fine, the website notes.

As for the controlled substance charge, the Law Office of Barry C. Weiss reports that these drugs include cannabis, cocaine and ketamine. Upon conviction, sentencing for the Class D felony could lead to seven years in prison, with time likely shorter if the person convicted has no prior criminal history.

Recreational cannabis is now legal in New York for those 21 years and older. That said, smuggling weed into prison remains verboten.

Using balloons, whether airborne or swallowed, to smuggle contraband might seem inventive, but it’s not unique.

The NY Criminal Attorney website points out that back in 2018, the NYSP reported a woman faced charges of promoting prison contraband and criminal possession of marijuana after taking three balloons containing cannabis to the Five Points Correctional Facility.

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That same year, surveillance video was released that prison authorities say showed a female visitor reaching into her pants and pulling out something that she then puts in his daughter’s pants before handing the child to the inmate at Rikers Island, assumed to be her father, according to KRON 4.

Sometimes a baby and a balloon served as a contraband combo. This was the case in New Zealand in 2010 when a baby with a balloon filled with 20 grams of cannabis was used, but the attempt failed, notes a write-up by Drug Abuse.

Another adult-inspired, but childlike, smuggling attempt involved letters and drawings from children sent to inmates at the Rock County Jail in Wisconsin. The paper involved had been laced with synthetic cannabis.

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