Thursday, November 10, 2005

 

Guard smuggled drug into prison


LANCASTER COUNTY, PA - It took a jury just 20 minutes to find a former Lancaster County Prison guard guilty of smuggling heroin into the prison in an attempt to deliver it to inmates.

Willie Freddy Franklin, 39, of 23 Lincoln West Drive, Mountville, faces a mandatory minimum sentence of 2 years in prison after being found guilty Wednesday of smuggling 12 packets of heroin -- plus cigarettes and lighters -- into the detention center.

Franklin was a prison guard for three months before his arrest in September 2002.

Judge Michael J. Perezous, who presided over the trial, ordered a presentence investigation into Franklin's background and scheduled sentencing for Jan. 11.

"The officers did a fine job investigating this case, and I think it showed with how quickly the jurors came to their decision," Lancaster County Assistant District Attorney Alina Andreoli said.

According to an affidavit filed by Lancaster city police Detective Jeffery Bell, Franklin was searched at the prison on Sept. 20, 2002, after an inmate told prison officials Franklin had been bringing heroin and cigarettes into the prison to sell to inmates.

"The inmate said the defendant delivered drugs 'two weeks in a row on Wednesday evenings,'"ˆ" according to court documents. "The inmate said the defendant was not assigned to his block but was there, nevertheless, supplying several inmates with drugs."

Under prison policy, employees and their possessions can be searched at the prison for suspected contraband. Franklin was called to the prison office and his possessions were searched, according to Bell's affidavit.

Upon checking Franklin's wallet, prison officials discovered "a white envelope that contained one bundle of suspected contraband," Bell wrote in his report. "The bundle was secured with three rubber bands and marked with the word 'Eagle,' and there was also an eagle stamped on the blue glassine packet, which is consistent with the way heroin is packaged for sale."

Police were called to the prison, and they placed Franklin under arrest.

While being questioned by police at the city station, Franklin admitted he brought drugs into the prison, Bell says in the affidavit.

Defense attorney Christopher Lyden said his client maintains his innocence. Franklin contends someone gave him court papers that, unbeknownst to him, included an envelope that contained the heroin.

"Mr. Franklin has no prior record," Lyden said Friday. "His military service was in the Marines."

Because the prison is a tobacco-free facility, the cigarettes and lighters are considered contraband, Warden Vincent Guarini said at the time of Franklin's arrest.

After his arrest, Franklin was arraigned on $40,000 straight bail, according to police records, and placed under protective custody at Lancaster County Prison. Friday, prison officials said Franklin was in the general population.


See our complete collection of bad behavior at the hands of prison and jail guards: Where did they learn that?

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