Corrections officer charged with sneaking dope into prison

A Warren Correctional Institution corrections officer from Dayton has been charged with attempting to sneak 200 grams of marijuana into the prison.

Stephen L. Howard, 49, appeared in Lebanon Municipal Court this week to face charges of attempting to convey drugs onto the grounds of a detention facility, a third-degree felony, and possession of criminal tools, a fifth-degree felony. Howard used hollowed-out markers and a Subway sandwich in an attempt to transport the marijuana from an outside dealer to an inmate, said Ohio State Highway Patrol Lt. Doug McKinney.

McKinney said the state patrol, which has jurisdiction because the prison is a state facility, arrests an average of a dozen or so people a year for similar crimes, including one or two corrections officers per year. Inmates will befriend corrections officers and offer fees to act as transporters for the marijuana, McKinney said.

On the street, possession of 200 grams would lead to a minor misdemeanor ticket, but on prison property any possession is a felony, McKinney said.

“Once you cross that driveway, it could be a seed, it’s a felony,” McKinney said.

The state patrol arrested Howard on Tuesday following its investigation. He could face up to five years in prison and a $13,250 fine, the state patrol said.


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