Mt Eden prison officer busted attempting to smuggle contraband

Police are investigating after a staff member at Mt Eden prison was busted attempting to smuggle in contraband.

The Herald understands the staff member is a prison guard who was intercepted attempting to bring contraband into the prison yesterday morning.

Mt Eden prison director Dennis Goodin wouldn’t confirm what the contraband was or how the staff member was “intercepted” but said it was found “as part of the normal daily operations of the prison and was not part of any wider operation”.

A police spokesperson confirmed they were called to the facility about 9.20am yesterday.

“No arrests were made and an investigation is ongoing.”

Goodin said prison staff worked in “challenging environments” keeping communities safe.

“We recognise that given the nature of our work, we must uphold the highest standard of conduct.

The overwhelming majority of our people act with integrity, honesty and professionalism and those who don’t place their colleagues’ safety at risk, damage trust in their profession and undermine the integrity of the prison system.

“They inevitably get found out.”

Goodin said when Corrections received information suggesting staff were not meeting standards, they investigated and took the necessary action, including referring information to police.

Contraband included alcohol, communication devices, drugs, drug paraphernalia, tattoo equipment, tobacco, tobacco paraphernalia, weapons and “other miscellaneous items that prisoners could use in inappropriate ways”, he said.

Corrections was focused on the prevention and detection of contraband introduction in prisons and it was constantly working to stay “one step ahead of new methods used to introduce contraband into our prisons”.

Its detector dogs were trained to detect new psychoactive substances, including synthetic cannabis, drugs, mobile phones, tobacco and illicitly brewed alcohol.

Mt Eden is Auckland’s main remand jail and houses approximately 1000 prisoners.

The Herald on Sunday today revealed 33 members of the Comancheros gang are being held at Mt Eden – in their own specific unit dubbed “Charlie”.

Among them include the gang’s leader Pasilika Naufahu who is serving a 10-year sentence for money laundering and conspiracy to supply the class B drug pseudoephedrine.

Of the 33 at the prison, five have been sentenced while the remainder are on remand.

A source said the gang members were being housed there to keep them away from other prisoners. There were 24 other Comancheros members at other prisons around the country.

Another former high-profile prisoner was Grace Millane’s killer Jesse Kempson.

The source told the Herald on Sunday that Kempson “was interesting and friendly but you could tell straight away he was incredibly manipulative”.

“He would always try it on with the officers and ask for extra things.

“He would watch himself on the TV news smiling and laughing. He had no empathy whatsoever.”

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