Football packed with cannabis and tennis ball stuffed with meth intercepted after thrown onto prison property

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Somebody was playing games when a football full of weed and a tennis ball packed with methamphetamine was thrown over the wall of a North Carolina prison, but the intended play fell short when the contraband was intercepted. (Photo by Mississippi Department of Corrections)

Guards at the Morrison Correctional Institution noticed the suspicious packages “out-of-bounds” between the inner and outer fences of the medium-security prison near Rockingham last week.

Checking things out, the guards found “concealed inside were tobacco, marijuana and crystal meth,” notes a tweet this week from the North Carolina Department of Public Safety (NCDPS).

The photo accompanying the tweet shows a football that has been cut open along its stitching, as well as two grocery bags stuffed with loose tobacco, a baggie of marijuana and a cut-open tennis ball.

“Interception!” the cheeky tweet reads.

But not only did the delivery not make it to its intended recipient, the department reports that officials were able to link the attempt to an offender. The tweet does not mention who delivered the bootlegged bud.

According to The Washington Newsday, an NCDPS official told the website that charges are not being filed because the inmate was not in possession of the contraband, but that an investigation is continuing.

Corrections officials intercept “quite a bid of contraband” tossed over facility walls, the department official noted. In response, the fencing at numerous facilities has been raised and netting placed to help prevent such attempts.

While cannabis possession has been decriminalized in North Carolina, it remains illegal. The maximum penalty for possessing 0.5 to 1.5 ounces (14 to 43 grams) of weed is one to 45 days in jail and a US$1,000 ($1,270) fine. If the amount is 1.5 ounces (43 grams) to 10 pounds (4.5 kg), possession is a felony punishable by months of jail time and a US$1,000 ($1,27)) fine, notes FindLaw.

But alerted by the sensing technology, “corrections officers scrambled to the area, confiscated all the contraband and were able to describe the smugglers’ vehicle.” 

The Morrison Correctional Institution is hardly the first prison where football-related delivery of contraband has been foiled.

Last December, more than two dozen packages were tossed over a remote section of the perimeter fence at South Mississippi Correctional Institution (SMCI) at about 1:30 a.m. But the cloak of darkness wasn’t enough to outsmart sensing technology at the prison and the contraband was soon discovered.

As part of the find, “some of the illegal goods were sewn into footballs, which easily cleared SMCI’s double 18-foot-high (5.5 metres) fences.”

And in 2014, a man trying to throw a drug-filled football into the yard of a Michigan prison missed his mark when it landed between two fences, according to a report picked up from the Detroit Free Press. The man, who was seen throwing the ball containing heroin, marijuana, tobacco, three cell phones and chargers by a correctional officer in the prison parking lot, was stopped before he could drive away and was subsequently charged.

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