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Corrections officer jailed for drug smuggling

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The Ministry of Justice here has sent to court a Corrections Officer, defendant Robert G. Philip for allegedly smuggling narcotic substances valued LRD$ 11,856.00 at the notoriously congested Monrovia Central Prison, his workplace.

A court document said to be containing defendant Philip’s handwritten statement made before Justice Ministry investigators indicates that the accused appealed for mercy, claiming to have collected the [package] from a lady outside the prison fence to give it to an inmate, unknowing it contained marijuana.

The maximum prison facility in Monrovia hosts both convicts and pre – trial detainees far beyond its capacity, and drugs trade there could send a warning of danger for inmates, particularly pre-trial detainees as some convicted hard – core criminals could become ruthless after drugs abuse.

Defendant Philip was allegedly smuggling the drugs to an inmate identified as Anthony E. Sopah, who had allegedly given the accused LRD$8,000.00 to purchase the narcotic substances for the sole purpose of trading the substances in the prison compound.

The Ministry of Justice says defendant Philip was informed of his constitutional rights to a lawyer and to remain silent prior to the commencement of the investigation conducted by the Liberia Drugs Enforcement Agency (LDEA).

He was said to have waived his rights and made handwritten statement.

Following his submission at the Monrovia City Court at the Temple of Justice Wednesday, 1 May, Officer Philip was later transferred to the Monrovia Central Prison as he awaits trial.

According to investigators, defendant Philip, an employee of the Bureau of Corrections and Rehabilitation was apprehended by another Corrections Officer Dehnia S. Jackson on 27 March 2019 at 7AM while the accused was allegedly smuggling the narcotic substances into the central prison compound.

The court document says the compressed marijuana weighed one kilogram, with street value of LRD$11,856.00.

Investigators say defendant Philip narrated that he and his friends Orlando and Marshall had gone through eating at a cook shop when a woman who was allegedly at the Central Prison gate requested him to deliver an undisclosed item to an inmate called Flowers.

He said he accepted the item from the woman at the gate, but he refused to be searched by officers in the prison compound after he had entered with the undisclosed item.

However, when Officer Philip was finally searched, his hand written account says his bosses told him that “it was [drugs].”

Investigators say the inmate, Anthony E. Sopah revealed that on 25 March he allegedly gave defendant Philip LRD$8,000.00 to purchase marijuana for him (Sopah) to be sold in the prison compound.

The inmate allegedly expressed regret over the incident, and pleaded for mercy on behalf of Officer Philip.By Winston W. Parley

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