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RCI officer faces drug, smuggling charges

September 01, 1998|By BRENDAN KIRBY

A Roxbury Correctional Institution officer was charged Monday with trying to sell marijuana inside the prison, officials said.

Darnell Louis Powell, 30, of Fort Cumberland Homes, in Cumberland, Md., was charged with possession of marijuana, possession with intent to distribute marijuana and smuggling contraband into a state prison, according to the Maryland Division of Correction.

Powell, who began working at the prison south of Hagerstown on Oct. 16, 1996, was suspended with pay, DOC spokeswoman Maxine Eldridge said.

Eldridge revealed few details about what led to the charges.

The investigation was conducted by the Division of Correction's internal investigative unit and its K-9 units, Eldridge said.

It was at least the second time in three years that an RCI correctional officer was charged with trying to smuggle marijuana into the prison.

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In an earlier case, Franklin Lee Stottlemyer was sentenced to one year in prison and two years probation in May 1997 after he pleaded guilty to possession with intent to distribute marijuana.

The system is severely undermined when correctional officers sell drugs inside prison walls, Eldridge said.

"It jeopardizes the safety of the other employees within the institution," she said. "It will not be tolerated."

Eldridge said incidents of guards selling drugs is rare. But when it occurs, she said the Division of Correction's response is swift.

"When an officer is caught attempting to bring drugs in, we will make an arrest and we will charge," she said.

Powell posted $10,000 bond Monday night.

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