Officials investigate corruption, gang activity at prison

by: Kathryn Burcham Updated:


POLKTON, N.C. - Court documents revealed new details about an ongoing investigation into corruption and official misconduct at a local prison.
Lanesboro Correctional Institution, the subject of a federal investigation into allegations of gang-related crime and violence, has been the focus on an ongoing State Bureau of Investigation case since December of 2012.
At the time, state justice officials told Channel 9 multiple correctional officers were facing allegations of misconduct and that the investigation came from the request of the Anson County District Attorney following a deadly stabbing and prison brawl at Lanesboro in September 2012.
Earlier this month, a search warrant filed in Anson County revealed new details about alleged misconduct and the murder inside the prison.
Lanesboro inmates Joel Ortiz, Julio Sorto and Gregorio Vazquez were all charged in connection with the deadly stabbing of fellow inmate Wesley Turner and seriously injuring another inmate Christopher Cook.
But at the time of the murder, prison officials said they only recovered one homemade weapon, or shank at the scene.
An SBI agent was at Lanesboro in July 2013 and was interviewing witnesses when she was approached by a correctional officer who said she had information about a former unit supervisor, according to court documents.
The correction officer told the SBI agent the supervisor asked her to go inside his former office and "look in the ceiling for a bag of shanks," according to the search warrant.
Court records also said the correctional officer reported the supervisor then advised her to not "say anything about that."
SBI agents searched the former supervisor's office and found an envelope with at least one metal blade wrapped in white cloth with "brown stains" on it, according to the search warrant.
The search warrant ordered the weapon and stains to be tested for DNA belonging to the suspects or the victims.
Officials told Channel 9 the supervisor in question was dismissed from his job nearly a month after the allegations about the weapons came to light.
A spokeswoman with the North Carolina Department of Justice said their investigation remains separate from the FBI investigation and ongoing.

Read our past coverage:

Federal, state agents, troopers at prison for ‘show of force’