Authorities seize drugs, cell phones mailed to prison

Marijuana and cell phones were packaged in various four pound bags of coffee and mailed to James T. Vaughn Correctional Center near Smyrna, authorities said.

SMYRNA — Investigation continues into the source and destination of an unusually large amount of illegal drug and cellphone contraband that was mailed to James T. Vaughn Correctional Center late last month, officials said Thursday.

On April 24, over seven ounces of marijuana and three cellphones were found in a suspicious package mailed to the prison from an outside location with a fictitious vendor’s name used as the sender, the Delaware Department of Correction said the day after announcing the incident. The illegal contraband had an estimated prison value of between $9,000 and $12,000, according to spokeswoman Jayme Gravell.

The seized items, packaged in several 4-pound bags of coffee, were detected by staff, the DOC said.

“I would like to commend all the Central Supply Warehouse Staff involved with discovering and assisting in the removal of this contraband from the institution,” JTVCC Warden Dana Metzger said.

Three cellphones were seized as contraband mailed to James T. Vaughn Correctional Center near Smyrna, authorities said. Submitted photos/Delaware Department of Correction

“If this package were not scrutinized, it would have gone unchecked from the warehouse to the main kitchen, where it would have been intercepted by inmate kitchen workers and distributed throughout the facility.”

The package was addressed to the Central Supply Warehouse at JTVCC and shipped to the facility’s kitchen, the DOC said. It was deemed suspicious because the shipping sticker did not list a vendor.

Ms. Gravell said charges are possible “pending the outcome of the investigation.”

While the size of the contraband involved was consid ered atypically large, Ms. Gravell said, “Our mailrooms routinely discover attempts to smuggle contraband through the mail system.”

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