Former NZ prison manager grew cannabis to sell to inmates

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Jun 21, 2007
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A former prison manager in charge of some of New Zealand's worst criminals was instead moonlighting as their drug supplier.

Jeffrey Reid, 45, has admitted growing cannabis to sell to inmates at the Hutt Valley's Rimutaka Prison.

Reid, who was a unit prison manager in charge of Unit HM7 and 8, a high security station at the prison, had been due to go to trial today but pleaded before the trial started.

He was arrested two-years-ago following a month long police operation.

A deadlocked room at his Wellington home was found to contain a hydroponic cannabis growing operation with halogen lamps, fans, plant nutrients, thermometers and a hole made in the outer wall to help remove the smell.

Brendan Anstiss, a manager at the Corrections Department, said Reid had let his colleagues down.

"There's no one more disappointed than us," Anstiss told ONE News.

"We take staff members acting in illegal ways very seriously. If staff members come to our attention, then we'll deal with it and we'll deal with it in a professional manner."

One of the inmates he supplied was Matthew Kidman, who sparked a two-day manhunt in 2008 when he skipped bail on firearms charges.

Two other people were also charged and have since been dealt with by the courts.

Rimutaka Prison has had a troubled history. Last month another guard admitted supplying inmates with drugs in exchange for cash and sex. Four-years-ago 11 guards were stood down while claims of corruption were investigated.

Wellington District Court judge Peter Butler remanded Reid on bail until next month for sentencing.


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