Drug smuggling investigation at Red Onion State Prison

Mike Still • Updated Oct 28, 2019 at 3:15 PM

WISE — The Virginia Department of Corrections is investigating an apparent drug smuggling ring at Red Onion State Prison in Pound.

Department of Corrections spokesperson Lisa Kinney on Monday confirmed that two corrections officers at Red Onion have confessed to “trafficking drugs and tobacco into the prison” after a department drug task force investigation found the alleged smuggling operation.

The officers were employed by DOC at the time they were confronted by investigators, Kinney said, and their names are not being released pending charges or indictments as the investigation continues.

Wise County and Norton Commonwealth’s Attorney Chuck Slemp III on Monday said he was aware of the DOC investigation at the prison, one of two state prisons in the county.

While county prosecutors are not now involved with the investigation, Slemp said that DOC typically does an internal investigation of crimes committed inside its facilities first. Results of those investigations are sent to the department’s Richmond headquarters for review, after which the department can ask local prosecutors to present cases to a grand jury.

“I anticipate we will be seeking grand jury indictments in the coming months,” Slemp said.

“We work hard to prosecute drug cases, but we also work hard to stop drugs getting into prisons,” Slemp said. “The Department of Corrections does a good job of stopping drugs from getting in.”

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