Raid seizes contraband thought headed to Oklahoma prisons

FILE - Shown is the Adelanto U.S. Immigration and Enforcement Processing Center operated by GEO Group, Inc. (GEO) a Florida-based company specializing in privatized corrections in Adelanto, Calif., on Aug. 28, 2019. California's attorney general on Wednesday, Nov. 17, 2021, asked the full 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to reconsider a ruling that rejected the state's first-in-the-nation ban on for-profit private prisons and immigration detention facilities. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson, File) (Chris Carlson, Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

OKLAHOMA CITY – Contraband including weapons, cellphones, drones and grappling hooks believed to be headed to state prisons was seized at a warehouse in Oklahoma City, the Oklahoma Department of Corrections announced Friday.

The department's Office of Inspector General learned of the contraband and raided the warehouse on July 15 with Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics agents, according to a news release from Corrections Department spokesperson Josh Ward.

Justin Brown, another spokesperson for the department, said few other details could be released because it involves an ongoing investigation into contraband being smuggled into prisons.

Seized items included 31 cellphones, which have been used to run drug rings from prisons and to coordinate inmate violence, such as fights in 2019 at several state prisons that left one inmate dead and dozens injured. Ammunition, drugs, tobacco and $8,500 in counterfeit $100 bills were also seized. The grappling hooks were intended to retrieve the contraband, the Oklahoma Corrections Department said.

“They had everything there that you would need to try to get a contraband drop into a facility — some of the drops were already wrapped up and ready for delivery,” Inspector General Ted Woodhead said.

Drones have been used to deliver contraband into prisons nationwide, including federal prisons, leading to charges this month in Beaumont, Texas.

The Biden administration has called on Congress to expand authority for federal and local governments to take action to counter nefarious uses of drones.

No arrests were announced, but Woodhead said charges are expected against “numerous individuals” at the end of what he said is an ongoing investigation into the contraband.