It looks like the scene at a small pre-pandemic party, except everybody is wearing orange. In a video circulating online, several high-profile inmates at a Toronto jail are shown smoking what appears to be marijuana, laughing, using profane language, and disregarding all levels of social distancing.
Sources tell CityNews the video was taken by an inmate using a contraband cellphone within the past month at Toronto South Detention Centre — the same jail that came under fire after CityNews revealed an inmate was being fed steak and lobster from a high-end steak house in 2018.
“I suppose I’m not surprised because I’ve seen similar things in the past,” says Kevin Egan, a lawyer with Mackenzie Lake LLP. “But when people are smoking in a unit like that, there’s a smell. And I would expect that anybody who is in charge of supervising them would be able to detect that and intervene. These guys (inmates) seem to be acting with impunity.”
The video, posted on social media, identifies the inmate in a “starring” role in as Flippa — a Toronto rapper otherwise known as Saaid “Postman” Mohiadin. It shows at least a half dozen inmates crammed together in a cell, sharing what appears to be a joint, while speaking directly to the camera.
Mohiadin was already facing murder charges for the March 2019 murder of Jerome Belle in the Junction Triangle, when he was charged with first-degree murder for the daytime shooting of alleged mob enforcer Antonio Fiorda.
Fiorda was shot and killed over the lunch hour outside a strip mall restaurant in Etobicoke in November 2019.
Mohiadin’s identity in the video has been confirmed by several correctional services sources.
“These guys seem to be acting with impunity.”
Inmates at Ontario jails have had limited movement in or out of facilities since the pandemic began, with most court appearances occurring via video link. Ontario’s jails have been plagued with high rates of coronavirus transmission, as inmates and staff work and live in tight quarters.
Toronto South has experienced nearly 200 cases of COVID-19 among staff and inmates.
The move to video court appearances was intended to reduce additional exposure opportunities for inmates, but it also limited their ability to receive and exchange contraband materials.
“School of crime”
Toronto South has a body scanner, and several other tools such as metal detectors, to try and prevent contraband from entering the jail.
Earlier this month the Solicitor General announced that Toronto South would be one of ten jails to install an ion scanner as an additional layer of security. However, staff do not have to go through screening to enter the facility.
“This was obviously a staff job. Dirty and corrupt correctional officers,” says one source who works at Toronto South and who asked to remain anonymous for fear of reprisal. “These guys are the worst. They make it harder for us to do our jobs and they put our lives at risk, to what? Help out a gangster?”
Egan says recommendations that came out of an inquest into overdoses at the Elgin Middlesex Detention Centre, including one that would limit what staff can carry with them onto ranges, should be instituted, immediately.
“These events keep coming up and nothing is being done about it … it’s just a school of crime.”
Sources tell CityNews that following a “major drug bust in C4C”, the unit where Mohiadin is housed, “more than a half dozen officers are being investigated.”
Andrew Morrison, a spokesperson for the Ministry of the Solicitor General, declined to comment on the situation at TSDC, saying: “The ministry is aware of the online video that appears to show inmates inside the Toronto South Detention Centre. It is not appropriate for the ministry to publicly discuss an individual case that is an active ministry investigation.”
But Morrison did confirm that police were called after the seizure. “Staff at TSDC did discover and seize a number of contraband items in one unit last month. Police were contacted at the time. It is not appropriate for the ministry to provide further details that may affect any police investigation underway.
Sources say “a lot of stuff was recovered. Crazy amounts of drugs, but also cell phones and Bluetooth ear buds.”
“Where did that come from?” Egan asks, referencing the cellphone used to capture the video. “It’s not something that somebody smuggled in through a body cavity. It came from someone else. And who has access to the living units? Staff.”