On September 20, 2013 RCMP Spokesperson Sgt Line Karpish released information regarding a joint investigation between the RCMP and the Correctional Service of Canada that resulted in charges being laid against four (4) individuals who are alleged to have been involved in supplying inmates with illegal drugs inside of the Stony Mountain Institution.
On August 22, 2013, the RCMP Federal Serious and Organized Crime Unit with the assistance of several RCMP support Units arrested Christopher Sposito (29) of Selkirk, Manitoba and Ashleigh Sullivan (24) of Winnipeg.
Sposito faces charges of Possession of a Controlled Substance for the Purpose of Trafficking as well as Possess Proceeds of Crime. At the time of his arrest, he was a casual employee of the Stony Mountain Institution.
Sullivan faces charges of Possession for the Purpose of Trafficking and Conspiracy to Traffic a Controlled Substance. Sullivan is believed to have a relationship with an inmate at the institution.
Both Sposito and Sullivan were released from Police custody and will appear in Court in Winnipeg on October 17, 2013.
Stony Mountain inmates Stephan Konowalchuk (30) and Joel Bruneau (23) were also charged with two counts of Conspiracy to Traffic a Controlled Substance and will appear in Court in Winnipeg on September 20, 2013.
During the investigation morphine tablets, ephedrine pills, cannabis oil and cash were seized.
Anyone involved in Law Enforcement or Corrections knows that illicit drugs are prevalent in the prison system, infact, Correctional Services of Canada estimates that upwards of 80% of inmates that enter the Federal Prison system come with substance abuse issues. These numbers translate to a significant market for illicit drug traffickers.
Sources I’ve spoken to in the past advise that Prison officials are acutely aware of the problem but prefer to ignore it rather than cause friction by clamping down on the inmate population. Some sources suggest that a “medicated” inmate population can be easier to manage.
Inmates I’ve spoken to tell me the drug trade in prison is a highly lucrative enterprise predominately controlled by street gangs.
Drugs make into prison in a number of different ways which include smuggling by “dirty” jail guards and prison staff, by family members or individuals who visit inmates or by having confederates toss the drugs over the prison fence.
Gangs members are also known to “suitcase” narcotics into the institution.
As a naive Police rookie in 1987 I distinctly remember being shocked when the pungent aroma of marihuana wafted out of the doors of the Winnipeg Remand Center that was housed on the fourth floor of the Public Safety Building during that time. The idea that we couldn’t keep drugs out of our jails was disturbing to my young idealistic mind.
It seems that not much has changed over the last twenty-six years or so.