Escapee tried to smuggle heroin back into jail

WASHINGTON COUNTY – On Thursday, Washington County filed formal charges against Joseph Anthony Graham, an inmate who escaped from Purgatory Correctional Facility on Wednesday afternoon. In addition to a third-degree felony charge of escape, Graham was also charged with two additional felony counts of heroin possession. One of these charges was filed after Graham attempted to smuggle heroin and sleeping pills back into the jail on Wednesday after his recapture, according to a statement filed by the Washington County Jail.

On Wednesday, at around 3:30 p.m., Graham allegedly managed to escape undetected from Purgatory jail. Correctional officers soon learned of Graham’s escape and he was recaptured later that evening at around 9:40 p.m.

According to a statement filed by the Washington County Jail, upon re-entry into the facility, correctional officers discovered that Graham was concealing a plastic bag containing heroin and sleeping pills. As a result, Graham now faces a second-degree felony charge of drug possession.

Today, an additional first-degree felony drug charge was filed against Graham, said Washington County Attorney Brock Belnap. This new charge stems from an unrelated case dating back to May of this year, in which Graham was observed by the Washington County Drug Task Force, reportedly selling heroin in a controlled-buy.

Graham was scheduled for a first appearance today to answer to the charges stemming from his escape. He is scheduled to appear in court again on Monday to face the latest charge brought against him.

Persons arrested or charged are presumed innocent until found guilty in a court of law or as otherwise decided by a trier-of-fact.

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Twitter: @mflynnSTG

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2013, all rights reserved.

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14 Comments

  • ladybugavenger August 16, 2013 at 3:36 pm

    That’s awesome. I really enjoy the part of slapping on another drug charge from something “observed” 3 months ago. That charge is retaliation.That’ll teach em

    • ladybugavenger August 16, 2013 at 6:08 pm

      Im having a sarcasm day. retaliation isn’t cool.the criminal committed crimes. He got charged with them but the crime 3 months ago is added based on retaliation from the cops- abuse of authority.

      • really? August 16, 2013 at 9:11 pm

        How do you know it’s based on retaliation? Do you know anything about the statute of limitations? Charges can be filed on crimes years after they happen. You know what happens when you @$$ume things…

        • ladybugavenger August 17, 2013 at 11:29 am

          What I know is this: When it comes to drugs, its appears distribution charges are based on controlled buys. What if there was 10 (or use whatever number you are comfortable with) uncontrolled buys for every 1 controlled buy. And your son was part of the uncontrolled buys and got hooked on meth or heroin. And you watched him get sucked in and you confront him and you confront the people hes getting it from and then you go to the police(because they are law enforcement and whats happening is against the law) BUT then they tell you you are controlling, he is 19,. he can do what he wants (I must add they were sensitive when saying this) what if you were this mother trying to save her son. Trying to save her son from people like this alleged criminal. What do you want me to think? Do you think the cops were on my side?

          • ladybugavenger August 17, 2013 at 12:43 pm

            (after i went to the police…I told my son I figured it out…that he was the driver for the drug dealer. That he drives them and they give him drugs, and he did not disagree) so heres his 19yr old mind:: My mom went to the cops and they didnt do anything, I didn;t get caught so MY MOM IS WRONG and I AM Right. My mom cant do anything because the cops know and they let me do it. I must be invincible….REALLY? I gave the cops license plate numbers, addresses, information of a pregnant woman doing and dealing meth….and the cop tells me I’m controlling…the girl delivers her meth baby and no one the wiser. I see her around town…so yeah its retaliation because the alleged criminal pissed them off…

      • Ken August 16, 2013 at 10:06 pm

        Please explain the “abuse of authority” theory!

        • ladybugavenger August 17, 2013 at 11:08 am

          gladly. There was an article in the past that stated it took WDTF 3 controlled buys before they arrested the person. And many said why 3? A reply was made it is to make the charge stick.This charge, although states unrelated, is worded as a controlled buy. not buys. “Observed” but not mentioned as part of an on going investigation. When there is WDTF bust it is with more than one person. This charge was added not because it will stick, but because the alleged criminal pissed them off. I would prefer the alleged criminal been arrested 3 months ago. Because in that 4 months that they wait and do controlled buys. Meanwhile there are uncontrolled buys and people are getting hooked on it. whether it be meth or heroin. I went to the police to tell them about my son being part of the drug problem. He had just got hooked on meth. and they told me i was being controlling because he was 19. In the mean time.my son lost his job, lost his apartment, and I haven’t from him since June 3rd. So arrest these people the first time and save somebody’s son or daughter. And don’t use it as retaliation to hurt someone. Get them the first time. The officers job is to arrest. Not to be judge and jury.

          • ladybugavenger August 17, 2013 at 11:10 am

            Correction: 3 months time not 4 months

  • My Evil Twin August 16, 2013 at 4:43 pm

    Well, if they can manage to keep him confined this time, he should be well set with three hots and a cot for the foreseeable future.:D

  • Tina Forsyth August 16, 2013 at 6:37 pm

    It’s quite possible that the SGPD was working some type of an operation to gather information/evidence on the drug dealing operations and arresting the perp and bringing charges earlier would have interrupted that process. Often, the police are watching individuals for quite awhile so that they can follow the line of distribution to the higher ranking dealers.

    Given the severity of this guy’s crimes, I think they SHOULD charge him with all the crimes he’s committed. Something tells me he’s committed a lot more than these. We have statutes of limitation, which obviously have not run out on the distribution charges from May. Let’s put this guy away for awhile. He caused quite a lot of panic/fear in my neighborhood when the SWAT team swooped in on the next street over in full force looking for the escaped fugutive.

  • bb queen August 16, 2013 at 10:04 pm

    I don’t care if it was 3 years ago that they observed him selling drugs he should be charged with it. I saw some members and friends justifying his actions and saying he’s a good kid blah blah but he is sick and needs help and hopefully jail is the best place for him now

  • $$$$$ August 17, 2013 at 8:06 am

    The cops do that to see how many charges they can rack up on u to put u away it’s happened to me along time ago I wasn’t doin good and I changed my life around and sobered up and got a good job and had a kid and one day the coP’s showed up at my door with felony warrants for controled buys from a year before instead of arresting me at the time they held onto them and after they realized I wasn’t doing those things anymore they decided to bring up the charges a year later and I ended up getting locked up for a year and then 3years on probation…it sucks they do that kinda *** but it is what it is and they do it to make sure they get enough charges against u to keep u locked up the longest and make sure at least one of the charges holds up in court…

    Ed. ellipsis: ***

  • Wow August 18, 2013 at 10:59 am

    Just so I am clear, you did something illegal and weren’t immediately arrested when it was convenient for you. Later you had the police knocking on your door with a warrant, they noticed you were doing better and didn’t arrest you. You had to go to court anyway and were punished for things you did. What am I missing here?

  • Aaron Tippetts September 15, 2013 at 7:45 pm

    Looks like the officers did just fine in this case. They didnt amplify the situation by saying he was armed and dangerous. They didnt make co-defendants out of all his friends and relatives ect.
    Escapes are embarrassing, no doubt. Now that doesnt mean that the prosecutor should go stacking charges to ensure a conviction or plea,but I digress. This chap was obviously trying his best to feed that monkey on his back; in order to not feel dope sick otherwise he would have been found somewhere else.

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