Contraband search leads to jail lockdown

September 6, 2018

KINGMAN — The Mohave County Jail was on lockdown over the weekend while authorities conducted a search for contraband.

According to a release from the Mohave County Sheriff’s Office, the adult detention facility was on lockdown from 9 a.m. Saturday until 9 a.m. Monday for a “special operation.”

“We had identified some missing cleaning supply equipment used by the inmates and began investigating further which led to some initial cell searches and ultimately the special detail,” said Capt. Don Bischoff.

In the initial search, a cigarette lighter was recovered from an inmate who had been concealing the lighter in his rectal cavity. The lighter was located by using a recently installed body scanner. The inmate told authorities he had been in possession of the lighter since before the scanner was placed into operation.

During the extended search, officers reportedly found some small pieces of metal that were in various stages of being fashioned into weapons and tools.

According to the release, more than 400 inmates were searched using the body scanner, in addition to searches of assigned mattresses, cells and housing units.

The jail suspended all movement of inmates and restricted them to their cells while the search operation was taking place. During that time, inmates were not allowed visitation or use of the inmate telephone system.

“Arizona statutes define contraband as any dangerous drug, narcotic drug, marijuana, intoxicating liquor, deadly or dangerous weapons, explosives, and wireless communication devices,” Bischoff said. “Also included in that definition is any article whose use or possession would endanger the safety and security of inmates and staff or the preservation of order within the facility.”

Promoting prison contraband involving weapons, explosives and drugs is a Class 2 felony while all other cases are a Class 5 felony. Promoting prison contraband involves bringing items into the facility, possessing the items in the facility and making items within the facility.

Many times, food, issued clothing, and personal hygiene items become contraband when hoarded or retained in an excessive and unreasonable supply.

Sheriff Doug Schuster said on Facebook that there was no disturbance or any other event taking place that represented a safety concern.

“With the likelihood of weapons and tools being fashioned, it was appropriate to implement search activities and the searches will continue,” Schuster said. “Unfortunately, because of the nature of detention operations, we can’t announce to the public in advance when we plan these type of activities.”

It isn’t clear if any inmates will face criminal charges or discipline in connection with the discovered contraband.

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