The contraband items found in the bullet proof vest in PO1 Jason Sawh’s vehicle, on Friday 22 October 2021. (Image courtesy Trinidad and Tobago Prison Service)

Commissioner of Prisons, Dennis Pulchan, says everything is being done to reduce the number of incidents of prison officers smuggling contraband items into the prisons.

The assurance comes following the arrest on Friday night, of a prison officer with over 12 years’ service, who was caught with contraband items while reporting for duty.

Commissioner Pulchan commended the actions of the on-duty officers who caught the officer red-handed, saying he is “yet another individual who has blatantly disregarded the safety of his colleagues.”

“All efforts are being made to permanently rid the organization of these criminals who portray themselves as officers and cast aspersions on the Prison Service,” Commissioner Pulchan said in a release from the Prison Service.

He added: “The Trinidad and Tobago Prison Service continues to maintain zero tolerance on trafficking within the nation’s prisons, more so by officers under oath to maintain security. Partnerships with security agencies are on-going as they have proven successful in upholding the mandate of public safety and national security.”

Prisons Officer One Jason Sawh.

A release from the Prison Service reports that on Friday 22nd October 2021, at around 7:30pm, Prisons Officer One Jason Sawh, who has over 12 years’ service, was found to be in possession of contraband, while reporting for duty.

According to an initial report, Sawh reported for duty at the Maximum-Security Prison, and a routine search was conducted upon entry.  Officers had received information that led them to search his vehicle.  They were assisted by officers attached to the Arouca Criminal Investigation Department (CID).

During the vehicle search, officers found a bullet-proof vest which Sawh had identified as his, but upon closer inspection, realised the padding in the vest had been replaced with cigarettes, wrapping paper, hemp and cigarette lighters.

Sawh was cautioned and taken to the Arouca Police Station pending further enquiries.

Investigations are ongoing.