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​Not so covert attempt to smuggle drugs into women’s prison

Publication date: Friday, 5 July 2019

[PDF version of this media release]

Forty tabs of an illegal prison-drug were found hidden in a greeting card sent to an inmate, with the envelope’s return address listed as Covert Street, Beverly Hills.

Prison officers at Wellington Correctional Centre in the state’s Central West intercepted the drug-delivery while searching mail sent to a 36-year-old female inmate.

Wellington Correctional Centre Governor Louise Smith said officers found the 40 strips of buprenorphine concealed flat between the cardboard of a ‘Happy Daisies’ greeting card.

“Given the ridiculous return address, this was a pretty foolish - and far from covert - attempt to smuggle drugs into our prison,” Ms Smith said.

“Inmates love receiving mail from their family and friends, but this card will not be making anyone happy and only harms an offender’s chances of rehabilitation.”

The handwritten note inside the card said, “I love you with all my heart and soul. I hope these flowers remind you of good times. I miss you every day and I can’t wait to hold you.”

There were about 100 incidents last year of contraband found in letters, cards, parcels or other mail sent to inmates. Buprenorphine strips, which are a prescription heroin-replacement, were the most common item of contraband seized.

Other recent contraband bupe finds in inmate mail include:

  • Twelve bupe strips hidden in a Thinking of You greeting card at Silverwater Women’sCorrectional Centre;
  • Five bupe strips secreted behind a tracking sticker on an Express Post envelope sentto an inmate at Long Bay Correctional Complex;
  • Five bupe strips were located in a homemade greeting card sent to an inmate atLithgow Correctional Centre;
  • Twelve bupe stripes were located in the side seams of an Express Post envelopesent to an inmate at Dillwynia Correctional Centre; and
  • Two bupe strips were located in an envelope sent to an inmate at DillwyniaCorrectional Centre.

The sender’s name and return address are false in the majority of cases. In some instances, the contents of letters are handed to NSW Police for investigation.