Ray Adams, a longtime milkman, has been accused of smuggling cellphones, marijuana, and tobacco hidden inside milk cartons into an Ohio prison.
Ray Adams, 50, a milkman who works for Martins Ferry-based United Dairy Inc., is believed to have had a contact inside the Lebanon Correctional Facility who set up the personal delivery service for the alleged smuggling operation.
Warren County Prosecutor David Fornshell alleged that Adams made thousands of dollars by sneaking contraband items into the prison starting in August 2017.
The undercover milk operation went sour on January 8, 2018, after authorities searched nearly 30,000 cartons of milk that Adams was delivering that day. They found contraband, including 12 cellphones, in 30 of the milk cartons.
Adams has yet to enter a plea on charges of conveying drugs and cellphones and is free on bond.
Ohio Sells 1,000 Dairy Cattle to Prevent Flow of Contraband
The state of Ohio actually began outsourcing its milk delivery to prisons in 2016 after it sold off all its dairy cows. One of the reasons it opted to outsource milk delivery was to reduce the flow of contraband.
On April 12, 2016, the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction announced its state prisons were getting out of farming after more than 100 years. Farming was phased out at 10 prisons, covering 12,500 acres, 2,300 beef cattle, and 1,000 dairy cattle.
Prison officials said the reason for shutting down the farm operations was not financial.
Gary Mohr, director of the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction, said farms had become security risks with people dropping off drugs and other contraband that was later picked up by inmates and smuggled back into prisons.
Inmate Accused of Delivering Milkman’s Specially Marked Milk Cartons
Adams worked as a driver with United Dairy for the last 14 years and delivered milk to Ohio prisons over the last two years—essentially since the outsourcing began.
Before making his milk deliveries, it is alleged that Adams met a contact at a gas station and received substitute milk cartons that included the contraband items. From there, the milk cartons were shipped to prison and allegedly handed off to a well-informed inmate.
“It’s not being brought in just to be randomly passed out to whoever—’Hey it’s your lucky day, you’re one of 30 winners today,'” Fornshell said.
“Somebody on the inside had to be looking for the milk cartons coming in, knowing how they were going to be marked, knowing what day they were coming in.”
The investigation is ongoing. Additional charges could be laid.