PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WAVY) - Eleven days from election day and another former inmate of Portsmouth Sheriff Bill Watson is claiming criminal activity went on at his Work Release Center.
The former inmate claims drugs were widespread at Watson's Work Release Center; he says he and other inmates were doing heroin behind bars.
43-year-old Portsmouth resident Milton Hoover served time on Sheriff Watson's Inmate Work Crew.
"It's easier to get drugs at the Work Release Center than to score on the street," Hoover said.
Hoover lived in the Work Release Center off Frederick Boulevard for about a year between 2011 and 2012. During that time, he says he had easy access to heron and would snort it in the bathroom and in his bunk.
"I was doing it on the weekends for two and a half months while I was there," Hoover said. "I have used it before in the Work Release Center, so I knew it was coming in because I have seen it, and I have used it before, and it was coming in regularly on the weekends and everything."
Hoover claims inmates with contacts on the outside usually kept the contacts inside the work center.
"It was real easy," Hoover said. "All you had to do was find people who were doing it and say 'are you bringing something in? Well bring me in three or four [caps, a small capsule filled with heroin,] when you come in Friday.' And I would get my three or four caps."
Hoover says deputies were searching inmates for heroin, but that the small caps were easy to conceal, if you knew what you were doing and the deputy that was doing the search.
"They were being searched, but it's a matter of how you hide it, and depending on the deputy that was working," Hoover said. "You got some deputies who are real friendly towards the inmates, and some let a lot of things slide."
Hoover also confirms he did work for Sheriff Watson personal use, which if true, would be a violation of Virginia State Code. Inmates are not allowed to do work for the Sheriff or members of the Sheriff's immediate family. Hoover is a trained auto mechanic and says Watson took advantage of that.
"I worked on his 1929 Chevrolet that he had in the Work Release Center ... his personal car ... and I worked on it ... no sir, he did not pay me ... it was for him and his car ... and I also cut his grass with another deputy at his house he has in Carrollton," Hoover said.
Hoover said he's coming forward with his side of the story because he thought the truth needed to be told. He was aware of the previous stories WAVY.com has reported about the Sheriff's Work Release Program, and that motivated him to talk.
WAVY.com called Sheriff Watson about the new allegations, and he called Hoover a liar.
"He is a liar, but I'm not talking about this until after the election," Watson said. "Call Lt. Cherry and ask him."
WAVY.com called Lt. Lee Cherry, who is Sheriff Watson's spokesperson.
"Andy, we are not talking about any of this until after the election, but I want you to tell your viewers that after the election we will answer all these questions," Cherry said.
Commonwealth's Attorney Earle Mobley, who may or may not be investigating the claims against Watson, would not return any calls from WAVY.com. A spokesman said Mobley had no comment.
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