Inmates caught with banned items in cell

Inmates caught with banned items in cell

SALISBURY, NC (WBTV) - Inmates at two correctional facilities are facing new charges for what they possessed in their respective cells, officials say.

One man was caught with a knife that he made, and another with a cellphone.

Investigators with the Rowan Sheriff's Office say they found a homemade knife, or "shank," on inmate Thomas Martinez in the Rowan County Detention Center.  The item was described as "a toothbrush that had been sharpened to a point at one end," and "a pencil with a razor blade attached to it with string."

Martinez was charged with one count of possession of a weapon by a prison.

Martinez, 27, faces numerous charges for manufacturing, possessing, and trafficking methamphetamine. Authorities say Martinez was involved in a large-scale meth operation in Rowan County.

Deputies say Martinez is known to investigators as "The Chemist" because of his chemistry background. Authorities say he used methods to manufacture meth which are rarely seen in North Carolina, including a processes known as the "Red P" method, which uses red phosphorous, and another process called "P2P," which uses platinum dioxide.

Martinez is being held under $260,000 bond.

Another man is facing felony charges for having a cellphone while serving a sentence at the Piedmont Correctional Minimum Security Camp on Highway 29.

Alexander Harris, 25, is serving two years and two months on drug convictions.  A worker at the prison told police he saw Harris walking around the common area with a phone, and that Harris made "a sudden move" to put the phone in his pocket when spotted.

When confronted about the phone, Harris is said to have taken the small Samsung flip phone out of his pocket before throwing it over the fence.

According to prison records, Harris has two other infractions for taking unauthorized leave from the prison.

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