A prison guard at Kent Institution could find himself on the other side of the bars after being arrested for allegedly smuggling marijuana and meth into the maximum-security jail.
Forty-two-year-old Paul Fleming, of Agassiz, was arrested at Kent at 6 a.m. on Boxing Day and charged with two counts of trafficking a controlled drug, according to an RCMP news release.
"The RCMP and Correctional Service Canada (CSC) have been working together throughout this investigation," said Upper Fraser Valley RCMP spokesperson Const. Tracy Wol-beck. "This partnership led to an arrest without incident, and the two agencies will continue to work together as this case moves through the court system."
Citing privacy concerns, CSC's Tanis Kinney couldn't say how the prison became aware of Fleming's alleged activities or whether or not he was still employed at Kent.
In an email interview, she said she couldn't comment on who the drugs may have been intended for or whether this was the first time Fleming was suspected of bringing drugs into the prison.
CSC has a "zero-tolerance policy on illegal drugs," she said, and "does not tolerate any breach of its policies."
When asked if CSC was concerned about the situation, she said "ensuring the safety of staff, inmates and the Canadian public remain the top priority for CSC."
University of the Fraser Valley criminologist Darryl Plecas said drugs have long been a problem inside Canada's prisons.
They're often smuggled in by visitors, thrown over the walls, or in at least one other B.C. case, brought in by a guard.
"Why someone would risk an incredibly well-paying job boggles the mind," said Plecas. "I guess they see it as a way to make extra money."
In 2009, North Fraser Pretrial guard Roger Moore was convicted of four counts of drug trafficking and sentenced to four years in jail.
In Moore's case, the judge noted seven out of 10 convicts have a drug problem, and his activities made it difficult to interrupt the cycle of addiction facing many prisoners.
Plecas said CSC has a number of measures in place to address the problem, including drug dogs, drug testing and intelligence officers who work on both sides of the wall.