Keen Mountain Inmate Sentenced to 5 Years for Procuring Drugs While in Prison
On August 26, 2015, Thomas Durham, age 34, pled guilty in the Buchanan County Circuit Court to one count of procuring, selling, secreting or possessing a chemical compound which he did not lawfully receive. Thomas Durham was an inmate at Keen Mountain at the time of the offense. He was sentenced to five years in prison, which is the statutory maximum punishment for that offense.
According to the Commonwealth’s evidence, Durham had an elaborate plan with his girlfriend, who is a resident of Eastern Virginia, in which she was to smuggle drugs and cigarettes into the Keen Mountain Correctional Center. During this scheme, the two had spoken in code over the phone several times in an attempt to avoid detection. During these calls, Durham instructed his girlfriend how to smuggle the items into the prison and deliver them to him. Fortunately, investigators for the Keen Mountain Correctional Center were able to crack the code, and used their conversations along with video surveillance to determine that Durham’s girlfriend had snuck the items into his prison outfit during visitation. Durham intended to sell the drugs and cigarettes to other inmates in order to make money while incarcerated.
When asked for comment, Commonwealth’s Attorney Gerald Arrington stated, “the law still applies to inmates, and they should be held accountable for their actions just like everyone else. I will not tolerate drug dealers in our community, nor will I tolerate them in our jails.”