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MONDAY, 21 APR 2014
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Roumieh inmates, doctor and guards charged with drug trafficking
File - The "Roumieh prison" is written in Arabic on a wall at the facility, July 15, 2013. (The Daily Star/Hasan Shaaban)
File - The "Roumieh prison" is written in Arabic on a wall at the facility, July 15, 2013. (The Daily Star/Hasan Shaaban)
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BEIRUT: Twenty-six inmates at Roumieh, 12 guards, a doctor and an officer were charged Tuesday for allegedly forming and operating a drug trafficking ring at Lebanon’s largest prison, judicial sources said.

Military Prosecutor Judge Saqr Saqr charged the prisoners, the guards – all members of the Internal Security Forces’ Gendarmerie – a police officer and a doctor with allegedly forming a drug ring inside the prison and selling the drugs to inmates and detainees.

The guards, the sources said, allegedly obtained the drugs from people outside the prison and sold them at the facility with the help of the charged inmates.

The police officer and doctor allegedly provided the guards and inmates with a cover to facilitate the trafficking process, the sources said.

The guards and inmates were detained and referred to Military Investigative Judge Riyad Abu Ghayda for questioning, the sources said.

Abu Ghayda would also issue arrest warrants against the detainees, the sources added.

The ring was discovered five days into a probe launched by Saqr’s aide, Judge Danny Zeani, after reports were received about drug trafficking at the facility.

In 2012, almost 50 guards were arrested on charges of helping inmates gain access to drugs in the prison.

The prison has witnessed a number of security incidents recently. An inmate was found hanged in the prison in October.

Earlier the same month, a police officer was arrested for trying to smuggle sandwiches filled with a chemical substance destined for a Fatah al-Islam inmate.

 
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on December 11, 2013, on page 4.
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