Inmate, visitor under investigation

Prison employee suspended in unrelated case

HOUTZDALE — An inmate of the State Correctional Institution at Houtzdale and his female visitor are being investigated in a possible effort to smuggle drugs into the facility.

At 12:20 p.m. Sunday, SCI Houtzdale security staff observed an inmate place an item in his mouth that he received from his female visitor. When lieutenants went to end the visit, the inmate rose from his chair and started walking with them but then attempted to flee, a news release from the prison states.

The inmate was taken to the ground, but staff was unable to recover the item before the inmate swallowed it. The inmate was placed in a special cell where staff awaits the passing of the item.

His visitor was escorted to the visiting room lobby, where she allegedly admitted to having drugs in her locker in the prison lobby. State police were notified. A trooper left the prison with the female visitor in custody.

In an unrelated case, on Thursday, a prison employee was suspended after a search of his vehicle resulted in the discovery of unauthorized items. The facility is working with state police on this case.