Correctional officers at Brooklyn’s federal jail frantically searched this week for a gun smuggled into the troubled lockup, the Bureau of Prisons confirmed Friday.
A source with knowledge of the situation said that a firearm was discovered on the 6th floor of the Metropolitan Detention Center — but the investigation continues, said the BOP.
“The Bureau of Prisons received critical information (Wednesday) that a firearm may have been introduced into the Metropolitan Detention Center,” said Kristie Breshears, a BOP spokeswoman, who declined to say whether or not the weapon had been found.
The search sent the jail into a lockdown, “to protect the public, staff, and inmates until a comprehensive search could be completed,” Breshears said. A source added that each cell was checked one at a time. A second source said that numerous contraband cellphones were also recovered during the lockdown.
“The BOP has arranged for additional staff from other BOP facilities to assist in the ongoing investigation at MDC Brooklyn to ensure appropriate staff coverage and relief for MDC Brooklyn staff,” Breshears continued.
The search couldn’t come at a worse time for the MDC.
The Sunset Park lockup is currently dealing with an influx of inmates due to the imminent closure of Manhattan’s federal jail, as well as a spike in COVID cases, lawyers say.
“My understanding is there was a weapon found in the institution,” said Deirdre Von Dornum, the attorney in charge of the Federal Defenders in Brooklyn, during a Friday hearing.
Von Dornum reps inmates who have sued the Bureau of Prisons over lack of access to their attorneys through in-person visits and phone calls.
Planned electrical maintenance at the jail last weekend turned into a nightmare for inmates, with no running water leading to overflowing toilets in cells, Von Dornum said.
“It was horrific. They were told only… they would be locked in their cells,” she said. “They were not told the toilets wouldn’t flush.”
Lawyers for the Bureau of Prisons admitted that there was no water for scheduled periods.
“Inmates were provided bottled water and there were buckets of water to use as well with the toilets,” said Assistant U.S. Attorney Seth Eichenholtz.
Eichenholtz did not respond to Von Dornum’s claim about the weapon. Judge Margo Brodie did not prod the BOP for further information.
The head of the MDC correctional officers’ union denied Thursday that a gun had been found at the lockup. She did not immediately respond to a request for comment Friday.
MDC’s 1,700 inmates include disgraced R&B singer R. Kelly and accused Jeffrey Epstein madam Ghislaine Maxwell.
The search for the firearm comes more than a year after a gun was found at the now-shuttered Metropolitan Correctional Center in Manhattan. The search for the firearm prompted an eight-day lockdown.
No one has been charged in connection with the gun.