EXCLUSIVE: Prison official arrested

February 11, 2009 9:00:40 PM PST
Philadelphia Police have arrested a man for allegedly trying to smuggle contraband into a high security prison.The Philadelphia Industrial Correctional Center is a maximum security prison which houses high custody inmates including those convicted of murder or multiple murders.

"We have people trying to sneak contraband in the jail everyday," Lorenzo North of the Prison Guards Union said.

A sign outside warns that all people entering are subject to search, but the distinction here, is that the person charged with trying to smuggle contraband into the prison is 43-year-old Anthony Fox, the mental health psychiatric counselor at the facility.

"That person is a first level practitioner who offers counseling and diagnosis for patients who are either suffering mental distress or seriously mentally ill," Prisons Commissioner Louis Giorla said.

Acting on a tip, correctional officers were blown away when they say he was trying to sneak in a tightly wrapped package which contained 13 clear plastic baggies of a white powdery substance suspected of being heroin, a large bag with what was believed to be marijuana, and two security screw drill bits used to open up light fixtures and various panels in a cell.

The Commissioner of Prisons was stunned that the alleged perpetrator trying to sneak such stuff in was Anthony Fox, the trusted prison psychiatric counselor:

"The quantity of the drugs and the fact that he possessed tools that could be used as instruments of escape," Giorla said.

The question of who he may have allegedly been trying to help escape and give drugs too and why is still under investigation.

"It's very disconcerting in one respect because it was an employee who was engaged in the activity, the criminal activity, however, it's also very rewarding that my staff was alert," Giorla said.

Prison Guard Union President North says correctional officers should be commended for averting what could have been a calamity.

"We do the job and we do it well, all we're asking the mayor is give us a good contract now, we've been working without a contract for a year," North said.

Anthony Fox continues to be held here at Northeast Detectives. He will be arraigned with possession of narcotics with intent to deliver, contraband, possession of an instrument of crime and related offenses.

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