Officials foil attempt to sneak contraband items into Bertie prison

Published 6:47 pm Friday, August 16, 2019

WINDSOR – A Pitt County man faces charges after attempting to smuggle contraband into the Bertie Correctional Institution (BCI) here Friday morning.

27-year old Aaron Carney of Farmville is in Bertie-Martin Regional Jail following his arrest Friday afternoon, suspected of having tried to sneak tobacco and up to nine cell phones into BCI.

According to Lt. Frank Ratzlaff of the Windsor Police Department, prison authorities noticed a suspicious package left on the grounds of the facility, believed to have been tossed over the fence. When it was retrieved by prison personnel, the package contained a pound of tobacco and nine cell phones.

BCI officials notified the Windsor Police Department and Ratzlaff and Officer Tahj Smallwood were dispatched to investigate.

Ratzlaff says a suspicious vehicle was later spotted circling on Cooper Hill Road. After stopping the car and receiving permission to search it, the officers say an odor of marijuana was detected and further searching turned up a small portion of the drug.

Also found during the search was duct tape and other items that might have been used to prepare packaging.

With the cooperation of the vehicle’s driver, officers learned the source of the marijuana and were able to determine the suspected delivery person’s whereabouts in woods adjacent to the prison.

A call was then made to the suspect’s cell phone, after which he came out of the woods and surrendered peacefully.

Carney has been charged with misdemeanor attempt to furnish tobacco to an inmate and misdemeanor possession of marijuana. He is also charged with a felony attempt to furnish a cell phone to an inmate. Even though those offenses carry a $3,000 bond, Carney remains in jail under no bond due to an outstanding warrant issued to him in Pitt County for assault on a female.