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Keeping prisoners in, contraband out

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by Krystal Paco

Guam - It's not just about keeping prisoners locked in, but also a daily struggle to keep contraband out.

If you've passed by the Hagatna Detention Facility you may have noticed some new changes to the exteriors.

Barbed wire fencing apparently isn't enough to deter outsiders from trying to smuggle contraband to prisoners. "We're slowly trying to beef up our exterior security by putting these gates in front of the utility closets. These utility closets have access to our fire sprinkler system and plumbing system. And we've had incidents of people trying to smuggle drugs through the side into the pipes trying to get inside the prison," said DepCor's Lt. Antone Aguon. He said corrections staff have literally had to seal up every nook and cranny of the Hagatna lockup. From airvents to door jams, Aguon says outsiders are getting creative when it comes to smuggling contraband in.

"Every little hole we're trying to plug up to prevent them from smuggling things in. just last Thursday the officers found ten straws - ten straws about two feet long with ice, marijuana, and Copenhagen and they were sticking it underneath the door jam," he said.

But keeping the Hagatna Lockup secure isn't easy - after all, the facility is located at the heart of the island's capitol. "We're in the heart of Hagatna here. And we really have no perimeter here. We have no cameras out in the exteriors of the building. It's open to the public and traffic so at times people will do whatever they can to smuggle stuff in," he said.

Keeping with DepCor, not all attempts to keep contraband out have been successful. As we've been reporting, a stabbing incident between two inmates in the special housing unit last month prompted a mass drug testing. Both inmates tested positive for marijuana but a sweep for contraband turned up no findings.

"If you do notice any suspicious people outside of DOC, if anybody in the public notices something and is passing by, to give us a call. You can call 472-4021 and report it to the officer that somebody is outside this area and we will check on it," he said.
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