An inmate has been busted using his girlfriend to smuggle methamphetamine into prison by taping it inside a baseball cap.
Paul Malcolm Johnson thought his girlfriend could sneak a parcel of drugs past guards during a "contact" visit at Northland Regional Corrections Facility.
He had told a fellow prisoner that he could hook him up with contraband – and their respective girlfriends talked on the outside to organise the hustle.
But when the two women showed up at the prison in May 2019 – with Johnson's girlfriend wearing a baseball cap with 13.92 grams of meth taped inside – they were told they were both having non-contact visits that day.
"Both women were upset by this news," says a new court judgement which rejects Johnson's appeal against his conviction for conspiring to smuggle meth.
Foiled, the woman left the hat in the car while the pair visited their respective boyfriends in prison booths.
When they went to drive out of the prison car park, however, officers stopped them to search the vehicle.
During a scuffle, prison officers took the hat and found the stashed drugs.
Johnson was later found guilty by a jury of conspiring with others to smuggle meth into prison to supply a fellow inmate.
At sentencing, where he was jailed for two years and three months, a District Court judge said such behaviour undermined rehabilitation programmes and prison discipline.
He challenged his conviction to the Court of Appeal, saying the verdict was "unreasonable", and that the judge had been wrong to conclude the conspiracy involved all 13.92g of meth and not just "a little bit".
Appeal judges, however, found no issues and threw out Johnson's case.