An 85-year-old man accused of trying to bring marijuana to his grandson in jail recently was an eye opener for prison officials, but the act of smuggling drugs into facilities is nothing new.
Ohio prisons are on pace to see more smuggling incidents this year than last year when 243 people were caught in the act, according to the Ohio Highway Patrol, which investigates such incidents.
This year, prison officials have already investigated 168 incidents, ahead of last year’s pace. Of those, seven were at the Warren Correction Institution, compared to nine in 2009. At the adjacent Lebanon Correctional Institution, also a medium security prison, eight investigations were reported in 2009 and four this year.
“Attempting to smuggle forbidden items into prison has been ongoing since inmates have been incarcerated,” said Julia Bush, a spokeswoman for WCI.
Richard Heritz, of West Chester Twp., stepped onto the grounds of the Warren Correction Institution Aug. 13 to visit his grandson. Gregory Heritz had been incarcerated at the prison for two years, and had eight more to come from a burglary conviction out of Butler County, according to prison records.
Before Heritz saw his grandson, he was pulled aside by state troopers, who were acting on a tip they had received. A few hours later, Heritz was behind bars as well, accused of attempting to smuggle marijuana onto prison grounds.
If convicted, Heritz could face as much time in prison as his grandson. He was released on a $10,000 bond Monday after appearing in Lebanon Municipal Court. He is charged with attempting to convey drugs on the grounds of a detention facility, a third-degree felony, and possessing criminal tools, a fifth-degree felony. If convicted, he could face up to seven years in prison and a $15,000 fine. Continue reading