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Another Correctional Officer Charged for Trying to Deliver Drugs in Prison, This Time in Western Maryland

March 1, 2010

More than a week before Maryland correctional officer (CO) Shanika Johnson was charged on Feb. 21 for bringing pot and cell phones into a Baltimore prison, another CO was charged for a similar offense at the maximum-security Western Correctional Institution (WCI) in Cumberland.

In the Western Maryland case, the defendant—27-year-old Justin Wayne Smith—”admitted to attempting to deliver a balloon of heroin to an inmate,” says Maryland Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services (DPSCS) spokesman Mark Vernarelli in an e-mail. Vernarelli adds that Smith, who had been hired in 2007 and worked at WCI as a correctional dietary officer, also had a “single-use syringe” when he was arrested.

According to Vernarelli, Maryland Department of Corrections (DOC) “intelligence officers had received information that drugs might be delivered into the prison and this information led to the arrest.” He says that the DPSCS Internal Investigative Unit detectives, as well as a DOC K-9 unit “assisted in the arrest process.” If convicted on all counts, Smith could face a 35-year prison term, Vernarelli says.

The online court record of the case, which was charged in Allegany County, indicates that Smith is a resident of Frostburg. The attorney representing him, Michael Noonan, could not be reached immediately for comment.

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