Guard accused of attempt to smuggle tobacco

August 17, 2005|By Matthew Dolan | Matthew Dolan,SUN STAFF

The day before his employment ended, the former Maryland prison guard charged this week with cocaine possession tried to smuggle tobacco into the prison where he worked, a state corrections official said yesterday.

Rasheem Jamal Robinson, 30, of Baltimore County, appeared in court Monday, charged with one count of possession with intent to distribute cocaine. He was released but ordered to return for a preliminary hearing next month. Before his arrest Friday, Robinson was a corrections officer from 2001 until this summer, most recently at the Maryland Correctional Institution in Jessup, officials said.

On July 30, Robinson tried to enter the medium-security prison where he worked while carrying a shopping bag, according to Maj. Priscilla Doggett, a spokeswoman for the Maryland Division of Correction. Inside the bag, guards found a "large quantity of tobacco" and cigarette rolling paper, Doggett said. Officials consider the banned material contraband inside the prison because homemade cigarettes could have been sold to the 950 inmates for substantial profit.

"Our agency does not condone or accept any one breaching our security by attempting to bring banned substances into the facility," Doggett said. Citing privacy restrictions, she could not say whether the contraband seizure led to Robinson's dismissal. Court papers in the case said he was fired.

His defense lawyer, Granville Templeton III, said Robinson resigned from his job. Templeton also stressed that the tobacco and drug allegations against his client have not been proved.

"He's not a hardened criminal, and he's not a drug dealer," Templeton said. "I believe this is a fishing expedition by the DEA, and they're trying to use Mr. Robinson as bait."

According to court papers filed by law enforcement agents, Robinson was arrested and charged with attempting to buy more than six pounds of cocaine in Woodlawn on Friday.

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