Smuggling contraband into P.E.I. jail draws federal prison sentence

Published on April 17, 2014

A 25-year-old Charlottetown man who smuggled drugs, tobacco, rolling papers and even a cigarette lighter into jail in his rectum is headed for prison.

Murray James Todd was sentenced to two years in a federal correctional facility Wednesday for possession of drugs for the purposes of trafficking.

He was sentenced to a further six months, consecutive to the first sentence, for trafficking in Hydromorphone.

The first charge stems from an incident that began when police were dispatched to the parking lot of the Atlantic Superstore where Todd was observed drinking alcohol, holding a pipe used for smoking drugs and shouting.

Police arrested him and transported him to the provincial correctional centre.

Shortly after he arrived there, Todd tried to move his bowels, arousing suspicion he might have contraband in his rectum.

Based on that assumption, he was moved to a dry cell.

Whathappened next may be hard to believe.

Todd’s rectum yielded15.7 grams of marijuana, 14 grams of tobacco, 50 Dilaudid pills, 115 Hydromorphone pills, 14 sleeping pills, rolling papers and a cigarette lighter, all wrapped in plastic.

Provincial Court Judge Nancy Orr said she found it absolutely incredible that someone would attempt to smuggle that much contraband into jail in that manner.

There had been some suggestion that what Todd brought into the jail was for his personal use, not for commercial distribution, but Orr did not buy that.

While Todd physically brought these drugs into jail, his defence counsel suggested he was under pressure, that there were other forces at work here.

The second charge against Todd, which came about as part of Operation Clean Sweep, related to the sale of Hydromorphone to someone who was acting as an agent of the police.

The court was told Todd has accepted responsibility for his actions and expressed the desire to put his life back on track.

He intends to put his time in prison to good use, accessing programs to help him deal with his addictions.

Speaking to sentence, Orr said there is an epidemic problemwith illegal drug use in this community.

She said there isn’t a day in her courtroom that she doesn’t see the impact of that drug use.

The use of drugs like cocaine and Hydromorphone used to be rare in this jurisdiction, she indicated.

“Now they’re standard issue,” Orr said.

She said it was to Todd’s credit that he had entered guilty pleas to these charges.

But she noted that until he committed these offences, Todd had had only one conviction on his record and that was for impaired driving.

She said with these offences he’d jumped into the deep end.

Orr suggested that thinking of the quantity of drugs Todd had brought into the jail was “painful.”

“It’s absolutely incredible.”

She noted the seriousness of bringing drugs into a jail is reflected in the fact that Parliament has established a mandatory minimum sentence of two years.

Orr conceded Todd may not have come up with this idea on his own but he carried it off.

She noted as well he was waiting for the first charge to be dealt with when he was caught selling drugs to an agent of the police.

In addition to his sentence, Todd was ordered to provide a sample of his DNA for the national DNA databank.

A weapons ban was also imposed.