Moore Haven inmates found with drugs, cellphones


MOORE HAVEN, Fla. Prison officials are funneling drugs and cellphones to inmates at the Moore Haven Correctional Institute, the girlfriend of one of the inmates said.

“If you can find it on the streets, you can find it in prison,” Kayla Magno said.

A half-dozen inmates in a two-week span were found with synthetic marijuana and cellphones at the privately operated state prison — an unusual volume of contraband in a short period of time, the Glades County Sheriff’s Office said. All six are facing felony charges.

“The same officers that are arresting the inmates are the same officers bringing in the contraband,” Magno said. “… They are all aware, and everyone just turns a blind eye until something doesn’t go their way.”

The prison and the sheriff’s office declined comment on the allegations, citing their investigation into how the drugs and phones got inside.

Sheriff’s office booking reports detail the contraband arrests:

  • Harold Cruz, 28, is accused of hiding three cellphones in a prison bathroom ceiling vent. He was sentenced in 2010 for carjacking and aggravated battery with a deadly weapon.
  • Angel Diaz, 32, allegedly dropped a cellphone in front of a guard, then ran to a bathroom and flushed it down a toilet. He was sentenced in 2014 on charges of grand theft, burglary and fleeing a law enforcement officer.
  • Nicholas Harris, 22, was caught with a cellphone and is accused of ignoring a guard’s order. He was sentenced in 2014 on assault and battery charges.
  • Venices Hawkins, 30, and Taurean Roberts, 32, were caught with K2 synthetic marijuana. Hawkins was sentenced in 2012 for second-degree murder, carjacking, armed burglary and robbery. Hawkins was sentenced in 2015 on several counts, some of them related to cocaine.
  • Ralph Lawson, 40, was caught smoking K2 and allegedly had a cellphone on his bunk bed. He was sentenced in 2008 on charges of grand theft, burglary, violently resisting a law enforcement officer, and fleeing and eluding a law enforcement officer.

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