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Baby used as prison drug mule

Published: 9:05PM Monday March 22, 2010 Source: NZPA

A woman used a baby as a drug mule in a "sad and desperate" attempt to smuggle cannabis in a balloon into Northland prison.

The cannabis was detected by a drug dog during a search of the woman's car on Friday, acting prison manager Chris Gisler says.

The woman handed over about 20 grams of cannabis in a blue balloon before police arrived.

"It had been concealed on the baby she was holding," Gisler says.

"It's horrific for a baby to be used in this way, and saddening that it isn't uncommon."

The woman will face charges and has been banned from the prison for 12 months.

Prisoners often put pressure on their families, partners and friends to smuggle drugs into prisons, Gisler says.

"Drugs have such a stronghold on some prisoners that they will blackmail friends, threaten people with violence or send gang associates around to the family home to frighten or harm their partners. It's abhorrent," he said.

"I imagine that the woman arrested on Friday is relieved."

Corrections staff and police will work to ensure the safety of people who speak out about being pressured into smuggling drugs into prisons, Gisler says.