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Matsqui prison inmate caught with $5,700 worth of marijuana and tobacco

The medium-security Matsqui prison in Abbotsford, B.C., is shown on Sept. 14, 2006. Richard Lam/CP

An inmate at the medium-security Matsqui prison in Abbotsford was caught with a package of marijuana and tobacco that was worth $5,700 after he met with someone in the facility’s visit and correspondence area, the institution said Friday.

The offender was leaving the visits area at about 8 p.m. on Tuesday when staff became suspicious that something had been passed to him.

“The inmate was searched and was found after that visit to have a package of contraband,” Tanner said.

The facility has both ion scanners and drug-detector dogs to prevent substances from entering the prison.

Ion scanners test visitors to the institution for trace amounts of drugs.

A visit may be denied if those scanners detect something.

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However, the scanners can be bypassed on occasion when people hide substances in toothpaste or condoms.

Tanner said he didn’t think a drug detector dog was used in this instance.

READ MORE: Concerns raised after second escape from Mission prison in two years

It’s not certain how the package managed to enter the prison in the first place. Matsqui officials are investigating what happened.

The amount of drugs seized wasn’t much — there were seven cigarettes and three packages of marijuana.

The $5,700 reflect the “prison value” of the drugs, not their street value, Tanner said.

“In a jail, a factory cigarette with inmates could sell for $100,” he added.