Prison Smuggling Scheme a Family Affair

There is never a dull moment in U.S. prisons. Now we have a true crime story where a man on the outside is charged with trying to smuggle synthetic cannabinoids into California’s Taft Correctional Institution while visiting his brother on the inside.

Mr. Inside, a 41-year-old inmate, is also in trouble for obtaining and attempting to obtain the drugs, which are ingested by smoking.

Synthetic cannabinoids, also known as “spice” or “K2,” are substances that affect the brain much like delta-9 THC, the main psychoactive ingredient of cannabis. The American Association of Poison Control Centers says synthetic cannabinoid usage can be life-threatening and may bring on severe agitation and anxiety, rapid heartbeat, nausea and vomiting, muscle spasms, seizures and tremors, psychotic episodes, and suicidal thoughts or actions.

Doesn’t sound like fun.

Both brothers are now in custody. If convicted, Mr. Outside faces heavy time for attempting to distribute a controlled substance and other offenses. Mr. Inside stands to have his stay behind bars extended a bit.

In other prison crime developments:

  • Charges have been brought against a former corrections officer at the U.S. Penitentiary in Terre Haute, Indiana. Edward Tunwar, 54, allegedly distributed a controlled substance and provided contraband. The government says Tunwar provided an inmate with heroin, a cellular telephone and tobacco products. He could get up to 41 years in prison if convicted on all counts.
  • Kevin Marquette Bellinger, an inmate at the U.S. Penitentiary in Hazelton, West Virginia, was sentenced to life in prison for the murder of another inmate. He was already serving a life sentence for assault with intent to kill. During a move of inmates from the recreation yard back to their cells, Bellinger and another inmate left the yard ahead of the others and went to an intersection of two corridors in the prison, where they confronted a third inmate and stabbed him with shanks in a premeditated attack.
  • George Yarbrough, 42, a former resident of Houston currently in custody within the Texas Department of Criminal Justice, was indicted for mailing a death threat to a federal judge in Houston.

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