Marijuana, phones, chicken confiscated in contraband bust at SMCI

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LEAKESVILLE, Miss. (WHLT) – Officials with the Mississippi Department of Corrections (MDOC) announced authorities are working to find the suspects who threw more than 25 packages of contraband over the perimeter fence of the South Mississippi Correctional Institution (SMCI) near Leakesville. The incident happened around 1:30 a.m. on Monday, December 7.

According to MDOC, the packages contained a wide assortment of illegal contraband, including 38 cellphones, four pounds of marijuana and seven pounds of barbequed chicken wings. Some of the illegal goods were sewn into footballs.

Corrections officers were alerted about the contraband due to sensing technology. They confiscated all the contraband and were able to describe the smugglers’ vehicle. SMCI Superintendent Andrew Mills said Security Chief Michael McLendon spotted the slow-moving vehicle and a search is underway for it by state and local law enforcement.

Deputy Commissioner of Institutions Jeworski Mallett said, “Our enhanced security measures are making us better at seizing contraband at all of our prisons any time of the day or night. Clearly, we’re making a dent because smugglers on the outside are taking extreme risks to help some inmates carry on illegal activities. We are also developing plans to re-open perimeter guard towers with marksmen armed with high-powered rifles. Everyone knows that trespassing on prison grounds is illegal day and night.”

“We are making Mississippi prisons safer for inmates and Corrections officers by stopping the flow of contraband,” added MDOC Commissioner Burl Cain. “Gang leaders use contraband as a way to control other inmates and we’re choking off their operations they’ve used for decades to control prisons.  Now we’re installing and using the latest security systems, drones overhead, and cameras and scanners everywhere plus we’re recruiting and hiring the best and brightest criminal justice graduates. Governor Reeves wants us to bring Mississippi Corrections into the 21st Century and we are.”

Among the contraband seized, officials found:

1.      4 pounds of marijuana

2.      20 pounds of tobacco and rolling papers

3.      38 cellphones, chargers and Blue Tooth earbuds

4.      An assortment of cigars

5.      Over-the-counter cold medications

6.      10 cans of snuff

7.      Several packs of cigarettes and lighters

8.      1 scale

9.      1 head scarf

10.  7 pounds of barbequed chicken wings.

According to MDOC, the inmates found connected with the smuggling attempt will lose eligibility for early release and accumulated earned time.

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