Oklahoma investigators seized what they described as “the largest contraband seizure in agency history” of drugs, drones and cellphones amid ongoing efforts to stop illegal items from being smuggled into prisons.
According to a news release from the Oklahoma State Department of Corrections, information from the Criminal Interdiction Division led investigators to a warehouse in Oklahoma City on July 15. After obtaining a search warrant, a team of agents from the Office of the Inspector General and the Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs Control entered the storage unit and discovered a contraband-drop operation being run inside.
Agents seized 30 pounds of marijuana, 35 pounds of tobacco, 31 cellphones, more than 2 pounds of methamphetamine, 2,400 cannabis pills and cannabis edibles, and two drones. Investigators also found cellphone chargers, lighters, grappling hooks, plexiglass, firearms and a stockpile of ammunition. In addition, $8,500 worth of counterfeit $100 bills were turned over to the U.S. Secret Service, while agents said the guns would be checked for possible connections with other crimes.
“They had everything there that you would need to try to get a contraband drop into a facility,” Inspector General Ted Woodhead said. “Some of the drops were already wrapped up and ready for delivery.”
Drone-delivered contraband is on the rise throughout the U.S., according to the Department of Justice. Law enforcement officials around the globe have seen a surge in recent years where smugglers use remote-controlled drones to fly over prison walls, drop contraband in the facilities and fly off.
Woodhead said the value of the banned items could be “hundreds of thousands of dollars."
The contraband seizure comes just a couple of weeks after prison officials in Oklahoma City intercepted a package of 2,500 fentanyl pills intended for a state prison.
“Busting up this warehouse operation for contraband drops on the heels of the major fentanyl seizure early this month shows the growing scale of the contraband problem,” said Scott Crew, director at the state Corrections Department. “It’s a plague faced by corrections agencies in every state, and we will continue to deploy the resources necessary to shut down the contraband rings in Oklahoma.”
This article originally appeared on Oklahoman: Investigators seize drugs, drones in OKC ahead of prison smuggling