Two Victorian Prison Officers have been charged over an alleged drug ring within the maximum security HM Prison Barwon just outside Victoria’s sleepy township of Lara.
The guards were arrested after raids in Geelong and Melbourne yesterday as part of an investigation that started in November last year. Two 40-year old males were taken in custody. A 40-year-old Grovedale man is facing numerous charges including drug trafficking, misconduct in public office and gun possession.
The other, a 40-year-old man from Norlane, near Geelong, is facing charges of possessing and using a drug of dependence. Both have been released on bail to face the Geelong Magistrates Court in September.
A 31-year-old female prison guard has been released pending further investigation. Police have also questioned two men who were not employed by the prison. They have also been released ::::
It is believed several high profile inmates are under investigation, HM Prison Barwon houses maximum security mainstream prisoners including a 20-bed facility for high security prisoners and a 60-bed facility for maximum security protection prisoners.
In April 2010 Carl Williams, an inmate serving life imprisonment for murder, drug dealing and manufacturing, died inside Barwon Prison. Police charged a fellow inmate, Matthew Johnson, suspected of murdering Williams.
Two years after the death of Williams, the Victorian Ombudsman found that prison authorities failed to act on warnings that Williams was at risk from being harmed by Johnson. Last month Penny Armytage – Secretary of the Department of Justice – resigned on the findings of the Ombudsman. The Department of Justice is seeking a replacement for Ms Armytage.
In May 2012 the local newspaper – The Geelong Advertiser – reported that more than half of the inmates at HM Prison Barwon, tested positive to drugs. Quoted documents obtained by News Ltd, the paper said that inmates were failing or refusing drug tests at a rate of 30 a week.
The exposé prompted prison officials to “…vow to crackdown hard on those caught with caught with drugs”. Victorian Department of Corrections data showed that there were 1373 failed drug tests in 2011, another 261 were refused, regarded by the prison system as an admission of guilt..
Notable HM Barwon Prison Inmates:
- Mario Condello – former lawyer, drug trafficker and underworld figure.
- Ashley Coulston – triple murderer
- Paul Denyer – the Frankston serial killer
- Peter Dupas – convicted multiple murderer and rapist
- Keith Faure – convicted murderer
- Domenic Gatto – Melbourne underworld figure (released)
- Evangelos Goussis – convicted murderer
- Brian Keith Jones – convicted of the abduction and sexual assault of six children
- Julian Knight – convicted of the 1987 Hoddle Street massacre
- Francesco Mangione – convicted killer in Mr Whippy turf war
- Craig Minogue – the Russell Street bomber
- Tony Mokbel – Melbourne underworld figure
- John Sharpe – convicted of the double spear gun murders of his wife and child in 2005
- Matthew Wales – 2002 Society Murders in Glen Iris.
- Carl Williams – convicted murderer, drug dealer and manufacturer; who died in custody