Breaking Into Prison: Drug Smuggling on the Inside

Breaking Into Prison: Drug Smuggling on the Inside

There’s a thriving black market
operating in Britain’s prisons with a record number of contraband
being smuggled in every day. Controlled drug, firearm,
offensive weapon, alcohol, mobile telephone, we’ve got tobacco,
money, computer equipment, maximum penalty two years’
imprisonment. But I know these things are getting
in there, I know they are. I want to know who’s doing it,
why they’re doing it and ultimately, more importantly,
how they’re doing it. So I’m about to go and meet
with a drug dealer. A regular drug dealer, but
apparently he knows all too well and is the source of drugs
that are getting into prisons, so I’m going to go and meet with him
and find out how his drugs, street drugs, are getting into
prison. What do you do that for? So how much do you reckon’s there? Wow, all that is half ounce? Why is that? Cool. Down the pants! ‘I head out with the dealer as
he waits for a call from his buyer.’ Do you ever feel, like,
responsible for it? Do you feel like you’re a source of
drugs that are getting into prison? Is there a big market in
prison for drugs? ‘It’s impossible to estimate the
drugs market inside jails. ‘Figures have suggested it to be
worth more than £60 million.’ PHONE RINGS ‘It’s time for the dealer to make
the drop-off ‘to the next link in the chain.’ What about car accidents? I think he’s going at the
speed limit. Are you driving with your knees? ‘I’m properly worried. ‘If we get stopped by police, we’d
get more than just a speeding fine.’ We suddenly pull over. The drugs get handed through the
window of a car. I managed to persuade the guy
picking up, a networker, to let me come back and see him in
a couple of days. I’m beginning to understand how the chain of smuggling works. A networker takes the order from inmates and sources the drugs
on the outside before preparing the goods
to go back in. What I want to know is how their
order gets made from behind bars and how that market runs on the inside. The contact of a contact
has finally come through for me. He’s hooking me up with a guy
who apparently has done some time and,
even more interestingly, has actually moved contraband
into the prison, so, hopefully, I’ll get some more
insight straight from the horse’s
mouth. Well, the first time I went to
prison was about ’99
and I’ve been going to jail every
year ever since.
And what’s you situation at the
moment? Like, are you a free guy at the
moment? No, actually I’m on tag the moment.
What are you on tag for?
I’m on tag for kidnap and
having an offensive weapon.
I’m trying to find out about how
contraband gets inside prison. What are the main things people are
wanting to get on the inside? Drugs, mobile phones and knives. Knives?Yeah, obviously.
You got to protect yourself.
And did you ever see any heroin,
or… I’ve seen it all. I’ve seen it all.
Spice, heroin, cocaine.
I’ve been to Brixton and seen
half a box of weed before.
What does mobile phones, drugs,
contraband do in that environment? I’ve seen people literally get
stabbed, hot watered in his face,
marked up for the rest of his life. For taking people’s stuff
or for people wanting their stuff.
It’s that simple. ‘It’s clear contraband is driving
violence between inmates. ‘Serious assaults in UK prisons
have reached a ten-year high.’ Then if I think you’re going to come
rob me, I’m going to want a knife, so I’m going to get
a knife brought in. And then you’ve got the guy
who’s got the gun. Doesn’t it just keep raising?
Where does it stop?I don’t know. It’s turned right upside down
in there, it’s a mess.
Tell me a little bit about the
methods you use to get things in. You have to either get your
family to bring it in…
People getting parcels thrown
over the wall,
jump on a drone or pay
someone to give you it.
started out of my girlfriend
was bringing it in for me.
Sorry, bringing what in? Weed, cannabis. And then, as I got older and I got
nicked for more different things
and I had money, I elevated myself
to screws and just recently…
Sorry, elevated yourself
to prison officers? Yeah, prison officers, but you’ve
got to be careful, because you
got to know which ones to chat to. How many prison officers do you
think you’ve been through? reckon about five, six myself. What did you get them
to bring in for you? got them to bring me
mobile phones and Spice.
And then what about with the drones? When there’s no weed on the wing
and they hear the drone outside,
the whole wing will be on to it, cos
they know they’re about to get fed.
But how does the drone make sure
it gets to the right person? What we used to do is you’d have a
light on your phone and
it’s got a big massive camera on it so when the drone is outside your
you’d light something or flick
light, do you understand?
Or flick your light on and off
and the drone knows where to come.
Do some inmates have a network of
people on the outside who facilitate the bringing the
drugs in?Definitely. You have to have a network
or it’s not going to work.
‘This network couldn’t operate
without mobile phones. ‘He offers to show me
by calling one of his mates ‘he says is on the inside.’ Yo, bredda. How did you get your mobile phone? What kind of thing do you use
your phone for? Yeah, so what kind of conversations
are you having? Wow. Are you making…
Making money while you’re inside? Do you see a lot of drugs and
phones in there? PHONE BEEPS My battery’s going to run out,
so I’m going to go, yeah?
I can’t believe that you, just like
that, you can ring someone who’s serving a ten-year stretch. How could the prison system
stop contraband getting in? Locking down the whole system,
spending money, more security,
more cameras, more blockers,
do you understand?
More things going on to stop these
drugs from actually coming in
because if you force someone to
stop taking, if there’s no drugs,
they can’t take it.
They become clean. It’s that simple. I think I’m most surprised at, one, his brutal honesty, but the level
of the problem. I had no idea. I knew stuff was getting in,
but I had no idea to that extent. The thing that doesn’t surprise me,
but I hadn’t really thought about before, is that…you send
a drug dealer to prison, why would he stop being
a drug dealer inside prison? I think that the life in prison
for many of these guys, whether they like it or not, is now
becoming an extension of the street, but, actually, the value
is much greater. ‘This has opened my eyes to just
how huge the problem is. ‘A recent report estimates that
over 20,000 kilos of drugs ‘are smuggled into UK prisons
every year.’ Weapons are, as well, orchestrated
through an illegal mobile phone which is organised by
a networker. I’ve had a call from the guy
that picked up the drugs and I’m off to see him. When I arrive, he is prepping the
goods ready to drop off to a mule who will smuggle
them into prison. So how does it work? Like, what, you
get a call? And then what happens with the mule?
How do they get that in? And how often do you do this? But that’s a lot of weed going
into prison, though, isn’t it? And how long have you been doing
this? So for this one ounce here,
how much do you get? When will this be inside? ‘He’s let me tag along to drop
off to the mule. ‘This is the final link in the chain ‘before it gets into prison.’ Have you ever worked with any
bent prison officers? Tell me some examples of when you
used screws as mules. Where are you going? ‘I’m not allowed to see where
he’s making the drop-off. ‘He doesn’t meet the mule,
but leaves the drugs in a specific ‘location for pick-up, which will
happen in just a matter of minutes.’ An ounce of weed is now making
its way inside. The mule is an inmate on
short release. He will insert the drugs, hope he doesn’t get strip-searched and then once back in his cell, remove them and hand them over to the prison dealer
who made the order. I’m surprised that prison officers
have been mentioned as a source of smuggling
contraband inside. Hiya.Hello. ‘I meeting a former prison officer
to get her take on what goes on ‘behind prison walls.’ Tell me a little bit about
yourself and your career. Well, I was
prison officer for quite
number of years and I absolutely
adored being a prison officer.
In your years working in the
prison system, did you see many mobile phones or SIM cards,
that kind of thing knocking about? Yeah, it’s quite normal. Normal?Well, yeah. How big do you think the problem is? think the problem is huge. Seizures of drugs and mobile phones
in prisons have soared in recent years. In 2014, nearly 10,000 handsets and SIM cards and 6,000 drug
packages were seized. What kind of thing did you find? The last two or three years, Spice,
the legal or illegal high,
whatever you want to call it now,
has become really prevalent for
the simple reason that it doesn’t
show up on drug tests.
If they take heroin or cannabis,
that’s going to show up.
If someone’s stashing drugs in
their cell, where’s the usual…? Is there a usual place? Not a usual, you know. Prisoners can come up with all sorts
of ingenious things.
They can take the TV apart,
they might have it in the stereo,
taken the back off and hidden it
in there.
Oranges. Take the middle out. mean, I’ve even found
charger in a jacket potato.
And how many are we talking?
A lot?Yes, a lot. That’s the ones we get. In the private sector
they’ve got targets.
Say, if you had five mobile phones
in a month and they find six,
they get fined, so… They get fined for doing a good job? Yes.That’s…Which doesn’t make
No. ‘I’m keen to hear how she thinks
contraband is getting inside.’ Where prisoners are let out
on licence,
they may well pack themselves
full of drugs,
commit a crime to come back in
to sell the drugs.
To come to prison to make money
rather than, unfortunately, get arrested and go to prison. They’re actually looking to go
to prison.Yes.Wow. Or they may be in debt
with somebody in the prison.
‘I want to talk about what I’ve
heard about prison officers ‘being used as mules.’ How do staff do it? I mean, don’t they have to go
through security as well? No.No?! So when you turn up for work in the
morning, you could have anything. You could have weapons on you, you
could have guns, you could have…
Yeah. And what, you could just walk in?
Yeah.Wow. don’t know about category A
prisons, but certainly in the
prison I worked in, which was
cat B local prison,
in the years I was there, probably maybe three or four staff searches
that I went through.
Do you think people are vulnerable
to corruption? minority. The majority, no. A minority. What was the toughest or most
shocking thing that you experienced while you were
working in the prison? The last couple of years that I
was working,
the threats that I had toward myself
got much worse.
Wow. “Fuck off, you slag.
Fuck off, you whore.
“I’m going to fucking find out
where you live.”
Or, “I know where you live,
watch your back”.
I mean, does them potentially having
a mobile phone make that a lot more of a threat? Yeah. Absolutely. Some people are dangerous and
they may well have a grudge with you
and they may well have somebody that they can connect up with
to hurt you.
And there’d be
no trace of that, I guess, if it was all done over an illegal
mobile phone. Yeah.Yeah.Yeah. The network involved in getting
contraband into prison is far more complex than I imagined. I think the willingness of people
to take things in because they don’t fear the consequences,
I think that speaks volumes. As the technology gets better, the problem’s going to get
a whole lot worse. The whole environment in the prison
system is going to change. It’s becoming more violent because
there’s a whole currency in there, there’s the whole black market,
and whether you like it or not, there’s going to be
fallout from that. You could go to prison for something
quite small and you could end up getting caught up and selling
phones, taking drugs, all because of this sort of dark economy that
is created from the prison system. There will be a way to solve it,
but it’s going to cost a lot of money because
it’s got so bad.


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