Prison Talk

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Monday, December 5, 2011

Love notes could land Dry Hill prison inmates in trouble

Two state inmates serving time in the Watertown Correctional Facility just wanted to let their sweethearts know they were thinking of them. Instead, they caused a hazardous-materials investigation at the Dry Hill prison Friday morning.

But the two inmates — Jafar Torkpour, formerly of Broome County, and Desmond McNeil, formerly of Queens — may have landed themselves in hot water with corrections officials after sending love notes to their significant others, said Peter K. Cutler, a spokesman for the state Department of Corrections and Community Supervision.

To emphasize their feelings, the inmates put material inside the envelopes that turned out to be sugar and lemonade mix, but caused state police and fire and rescue units to respond about 7:40 a.m. Friday to the correctional facility, at 23147 Swan Road in the town of Watertown.

Mr. Torkpour, in prison on a conviction of third-degree criminal possession of a weapon, placed sugar inside an envelope with a letter telling his lady he is still “sweet on” her, Mr. Cutler said. He said Mr. McNeil, in prison for third-degree robbery, put lemonade powder in his envelope with a letter telling the intended recipient he is “still sweet enough” on her.

The substances in the envelopes were later tested, Mr. Cutler said, adding the inmates could be disciplined.

The incident began when prison officials found the suspicious materials seeping out of the envelopes and called state police to investigate, a state police sergeant said.

Because the envelopes’ contents were not known, state police followed “protocol” for investigating potential Homeland Security threats, the sergeant said. She said she did not know whether such an incident had ever happened before at the prison.

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