Prison drug probe pays off

Five convicts in Korydallos Prison’s men’s wing were charged yesterday with running a ring that allegedly smuggled heroin into Greece’s largest jail, while four guards were charged with assisting them and trying to pervert the course of justice. Meanwhile, following a separate investigation concerning drug use among female Korydallos convicts, further criminal charges were pressed yesterday against the former governor of the women’s wing, who was sacked after the New Year’s Eve cell drug deaths of three inmates. The former governor, Ekaterini Sarissava, and serving chief warder, Athina Haramanda, were charged with direct complicity in the smuggling of prescription drugs into prison. Sarissava and her former deputy, Rena Kassassi, were charged on January 2 with dereliction of duty after Piraeus prosecutor Grigoris Peponis opined that they took no action to prevent the mother of a prisoner from smuggling heroin and anti-depressants into the women’s wing, despite being aware of her activities. Yesterday, Peponis charged inmates Ilir Hondos, Artur Zizaz – both Albanians serving drug convictions – Christos Gilis, Costas Karayiannis and Giorgos Kristalos with bringing 100,000 euros’ worth of heroin into the jail over the past four months. Kristalos allegedly smuggled the heroin in, as he was allowed to work outside Korydallos in the mornings. Two guards who were supposed to accompany Kristalos outside jail but did not, brothers Nikos and Andreas Vatsinos, were charged with facilitating the smugglers, as was fellow guard Vassilis Mantzaris. All three, along with disgraced former chief warder Antonis Aravantinos – who was demoted after a brazen jailbreak last May – were also charged with pressing witnesses to mislead the investigation.