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Prison Drug Smuggling: The Warehouse Move

This smuggling method requires serious coordination but can reap big rewards, a prisoner tells The Fix.

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Warehouses are a major smuggling route
into prisons. Photo via

By Seth Ferranti

07/11/12

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Prisoners use every ounce of their creativity to invent new ways to support the thriving drug markets inside; the methods used are as wide-ranging as the substances that are brought in. "At some prisons they bring in drugs and tobacco through the warehouse," one prisoner tells The Fix. "If everything goes right, it's a hell of a move." This is a multi-person, highly coordinated scheme that groups of prisoners or gangs use to launch drug-dealing ventures behind prison walls. "The warehouse move is complicated. You need the right people in place at the camp and on the inside," says our source. "Your guys have to be in the right jobs: food service, commissary, laundry, Unicor. Any place where stuff is coming in on a daily basis." 

Outside warehouses—which accept the incoming goods and materials that institutions need to operate—are a necessity. And most institutions have an adjacent minimum-security camp outside their fences, which supplies the prisoners that staff the warehouse. Getting these minimum-security prisoners to coordinate with the guys behind the fence isn't hard—although a cell phone or other means of exchanging information is vital. Then it's just a question of hiding a package of drugs in a box bound for the inside. "The guy at the camp notifies the point man inside of the specifics like when, where and how the drugs are coming," the prisoner explains. "He in turn tells the guys who work at the critical spots, and boom—they get the package, distribute it and count the money all the way to the bank, taking care of their homie on the outside who made it happen." It's an intricate process, but one that prisoners pull off daily.

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