Prison on partial lockdown after discovery of contraband - KUAM.com-KUAM News: On Air. Online. On Demand.

Prison on partial lockdown after discovery of contraband

by Mindy Aguon

Guam - Several units at the Department of Corrections continue to be on lockdown as there are several investigations into prison contraband that's been found inside the cells. The lockdown has resulted in certain privileges being stopped until officials gather more information about what's really happening inside the prison walls.

Two weeks ago during a shakedown of the DepCor's Mangilao facility, officers found two cell phones and tobacco inside the prison.  The items are strictly forbidden and had recently been smuggled into the prison.  Agency spokesperson Officer Jeff Limo says five units were originally placed on lockdown but today only three units remain, noting, "Three units pending were the administrative segregation unit, the Contempt of Court Unit and Post 6 - the Maximum Security Unit. Several contrabands were found two weeks ago and leading us to open a new investigation into the matter and found that other inmates within the unit had been utilizing these contraband."

Limo says the investigation so far has revealed that numerous inmates have been sharing these cell phones.  "The phone is jumping through units in here. So in order to catch the cell phone that is around here is to basically put the whole compound on lockdown until the special operations response team does a complete search of the whole area. We may not find it today but we'll find it tomorrow," he said.

Part of the investigation is to determine how the phones made it from the different units that normally would have no contact with each other.  Limo says the superintendent is looking at inmates who are on different work details around the prison who have access to various units.

Officials also believe that family members are helping to smuggle in contraband-something he says will not be tolerated. He told KUAM News, "We do want the family members to come visit their loved ones who are incarcerated and perhaps put up here at the Department of Corrections. However, they do have to follow the rules of engagement when they come up here."

Visitation and canteen commissary privileges have also been suspended as items were being smuggled in with commissary items.

But the problem isn't just with family members, but also apparently some of DepCor's very own staff. Limo confirms the ongoing lockdown and investigations are tied in with an investigation into a hole that was discovered several months ago in the compound's perimeter fence.  As we reported two DepCor officers were terminated in connection with that investigation. Said Limo, "Our prior investigations have alluded to personnel and some of the officers, involved in bringing in contraband."

But no criminal charges have been filed against any officers.  The director also filed an escape complaint with GPD several weeks after the discovery of the hole.

"It's all linked into one and it's still being worked on. Again we're going to continue to shake the compound down until we found out that there is no contraband in here and anyone bringing in contraband in here then we'll lift the privileges. But for now it's going to be looked at and analyzed," he said.

DepCor officials say the lockdown will continue indefinitely as the investigation continues but inmates and detainees have been allowed phone privileges in the interim.

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