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Prison officer admits behind-bars romance with drugs baron

Prison officer admits behind-bars romance with drugs baron

Monday 13 January 2020

Prison officer admits behind-bars romance with drugs baron

A UK prison officer is facing jail after admitting a romance behind bars with notorious drugs baron Curtis Warren, who was imprisoned over a plot to ship £1million of cannabis into Jersey.

Stephanie Smithwhite (40) pleaded guilty to two counts of misconduct while working at top security jail HMP Frankland at Durham Crown Court last week.

One related to having a sexual relationship with drugs trafficker Warren, while the other involved failing to disclose that he had access to a so-called ‘prison phone’ – said to be no larger than a £2 coin.

Former bouncer Warren (57) is serving time at the prison following a foiled plan to flood Jersey with a cannabis haul worth £1million.

Pictured: HMP Frankland, where Warren is currently serving time.

The Liverpool-born convict’s roots in crime extend back decades, having previously been sentenced to jail for other high-profile drugs plots and, at one point, becoming one of Interpol’s most wanted.

Through his crimes, he accumulated tens of millions, even appearing on the Sunday Times Rich List.

In 2005, he was charged with running an international drugs smuggling cartel from his Dutch jail cell, but successfully appealed and was released from prison in 2007.

The same year, he moved to Jersey where, just two years later, he was jailed for 13 years over the cannabis scheme.

Crucial evidence in the case was obtained by Jersey Police officers, who wiretapped a car Warren had used to travel across Europe.

That conviction led Jersey’s Royal Court to make a confiscation order of £198m – one of the largest in Europe.


Pictured: Jersey's Royal Court, which handed down one of Europe's largest ever confiscation orders in relation to Warren.

Judge Jonathan Carroll described Smithwhite’s relationship with the offender as a “profound” breach of trust.

Speaking during last week’s hearing, he told her: "You have pleaded guilty to these two serious offences, you understand, I am certain, how serious they are.

"The overwhelming likelihood this will be followed by an immediate custodial sentence.

"Your background should be fully investigated before I pass sentence, you should understand the purpose is to assist me with the length rather than the type of disposal." 

Smithwhite, who is from South Tyneside, will be sentenced on 7 February following a report compiled by the Probation Service. 

In the meantime, she has been granted bail.

It's not the first time Warren has been reported to have had a love affair while locked up.


Pictured: HMP La Moye in Jersey, where a former manager claimed she had a relationship with Warren.

A former senior manager at La Moye, who ran the drugs and alcohol counselling unit, told the Mail on Sunday in 2014 that she enjoyed a romance with the gangster when he was remanded in the Jersey prison in 2007.

She said that the pair had "sex in his little cell most days", adding that the relationship only ended when he was transferred to a prison in England.

However, Jersey's former Home Affairs Minister, Senator Ian Le Marquand, said at the time that the claim was extremely unlikely.

Warren also denied the account through his lawyer.

Pictured top: Curtis Warren, who is serving time at HMP Frankland, and Stephanie Smithwhite (inset), who admitted a relationship with him.

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