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By, Sean Patrick Norris
The Maryland Gazette

JESSUP, Md. - State troopers this week caught a man just weeks out of prison trying to toss a bag full of contraband tobacco and cell phones back over the fence at a state prison in Jessup.
"This is a big deal because we know this kind of contraband gets into the prisons but we don't know how," said Lt. Kevin Hickey, commander of the state police barracks in Glen Burnie.
Police said Keenan Adrian Bailey, 32, of Baltimore went to the Dorsey Run water treatment plant near the Brockbridge Correctional Facility around noon and asked to apply for a job. After signing the ledger with a false name, he walked outside the fence of the facility.
Wearing two pairs of pants and a heavy sweatshirt despite Thursday's 84-degree heat and high humidity, Bailey was spotted in a wooded area just outside the fence line by Department of Corrections staff.
Corrections staff tracked Bailey down just as Trooper Patrick Lane arrived on the scene. After Bailey was detained, Trooper Lane found a bag lodged in a nearby tree. Inside, he found five cell phones, seven packs of tobacco and a few cell phone batteries and chargers.
Bailey told police he headed into the woods to relieve himself.
The man was released from jail in May. He has a long criminal history, including drug trafficking and possession charges, according to court records.
Bailey is being charged with several counts of attempting to introduce contraband to a correctional facility and trespassing, said Trooper Lane.
A few of the bags were marked with a star, which police said could signify they were designated for a specific person.
"Tobacco, like drugs and phones, could potentially be traded or sold, so yes, it does have value (in a prison)," said Mark A. Vernarelli, spokesman for Maryland Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services.
State police Sgt. Linda Lozier said contraband cell phones are of particular value to some prisoners looking to stay involved in criminal activity while serving their sentences.
"The phones can be used for contacting the outside world or continuing criminal activity," she said.
Mr. Vernarelli said cell phones can be obtained when inmates are out working on the highways or in communities. He also said visitors, delivery people, vendors and even rogue staff members can introduce them.
Last fall, corrections officers began a campaign to confiscate cell phones, collecting an average of 79 phones each month from September through April.
Having a cell phone in prison, delivering a cell phone to a prison or having the intention of delivering a cell phone to a prison can be punished by three years in jail and no more than a $1,000 fine.

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