Manawatu Prison staff and a detection dog team found chess pieces stuffed with cannabis in the prisoner mailCorrections staff and a detector dog searching incoming prisoner mail at Manawatu Prison this morning found a package of chess pieces packed with a cannabis leaf and oil.

The find comes on the same day that another Corrections detector dog team was awarded first place for narcotic detection at the National Police Dog Trials held at Trentham this week.

“Today’s drug find was great work by staff and the detector dog, who found the drugs before they got into the hands of prisoners,” says Prison Director Mark Cookson.

“Prisoner mail and incoming property are regularly searched. The detector dog gave a clear indication on this particular item. When it was opened, it became clear that the chess pieces had been tampered with.

“In total the package contained 12.53 grams of cannabis leaf and 12.25 grams of oil.”

“Managing the introduction of contraband into prisons is a constant challenge. Drugs can create a more dangerous working environment for our staff, and prevent prisoners from engaging in rehabilitation, education and employment opportunities.”

Contraband in prisons includes tobacco, alcohol, communication devices, drugs, drug paraphernalia, tattoo equipment, and weapons.  It also includes some everyday and seemingly innocent items that while not illegal, may be used inappropriately by prisoners.

A range of methods are used at prisons across New Zealand to prevent drugs, weapons, cellphones from entering. They include 24 detector dog teams operating across the country, x-ray technology, telephone monitoring of prisoners’ calls and single points of entry to sites.

“We’re also vigilant about holding people to account when they do attempt to introduce contraband. We have a great relationship with Police locally and we’ve referred the matter to them for investigation and possible criminal charges. The person responsible will also be banned from visiting the prison for the maximum period of 12 months.”

We encourage anyone who is being pressured to bring drugs into a prison to report it to anonymous crime reporting line Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.