Italy arrests Naples prison ombudsman for smuggling drugs, phones into jail
ROME — The public official responsible for safeguarding prisoners rights in the Italian city of Naples was arrested on Tuesday on charges of smuggling drugs and mobile phones to inmates, police said in a statement.
Pietro Ioia was arrested along with seven other people. Under Italian law, prison ombudsmen have access to jails and can hold interviews with prisoners to check their conditions.
The police said Ioia exploited his position to bring the devices and drugs into Naples’ Poggioreale prison, where they were traded among the prisoners.
The money was then transferred to bank cards owned by an unnamed woman outside the jail who was part of the criminal organization.
“The investigation revealed the existence of rampant drug dealing (hashish and cocaine) worth thousands of euros inside the prison,” the police statement said.
Six of the suspects were taken to jail, while two others were placed under house arrest.
In a statement, the national inmates ombudsman office said it would take stock of Ioia’s “striking” arrest, adding it was not the national ombudsman’s responsibility to oversee the local representatives.