An officer at Central Prison in Raleigh was charged Sunday evening with having a mind-altering synthetic drug and rolling papers to sell inside the facility.
State Capitol Police arrested Willie Michael Davis Jr., 27, at the prison at 1300 Western Blvd. shortly after 7 p.m.
The state Department of Public Safety said Davis is a correctional officer and was hired Jan. 22.
Davis, who lives on North New Hope Road in Raleigh, was accused of possession of a controlled substance inside a prison, possession with intent to sell a synthetic cannabinoid, and possession of drug paraphernalia.
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The charges said Davis had a drug whose popular names include K2 and Spice. They did not accuse Davis of making any sales.
The National Institute on Drug Abuse says on its website that chemicals in the synthetic drug have properties similar to those of chemical found in the marijuana plant.
The synthetic drugs can be sprayed on plant material to be smoked like marijuana or can be used in e-cigarettes, the government information says.
The agency says the synthetics are sometimes labeled as synthetic marijuana, but "may affect the brain much more powerfully than marijuana; their actual effects can be unpredictable and, in some cases, more dangerous or even life-threatening."
State Capitol Police have law-enforcement jurisdiction at the prison, which houses men.
Judge Reuben Young, interim chief deputy secretary for adult correction and juvenile justice, issued a statement.
"The North Carolina Department of Public Safety has zero tolerance for anyone attempting to bring contraband of any type into our prisons," Young said. "The Department has many hard working corrections professionals and it takes allegations of misconduct very seriously.
"Charges will be pursued against anyone who violates the law. And any staff who participates in illegal actions will be subjected to appropriate personnel action, including dismissal."