Authorities uncover large prison contraband operation

OKLAHOMA CITY — State authorities uncovered what is believed to be the largest contraband seizure in Oklahoma Department of Corrections Office of the Inspector General history.

Intelligence gathered by the Criminal Interdiction Division of the OIG pointed investigators to a storage unit in Oklahoma City, the agency announced in a press release.

A search warrant for the storage unit, obtained in conjunction with the Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics, allowed agents to enter the unit on July 15. Inside, agents from both agencies discovered a warehouse-sized operation for contraband drops, which contained everything from drugs and tobacco to cell phones and drones, the Oklahoma Department of Corrections said.

Items seized from the storage unit included 30 pounds of marijuana, 2.2 pounds of methamphetamine, 2,400 cannabis pills, a large number of cannabis edibles, 35 pounds of tobacco, 31 cell phones, and two drones. Agents also discovered a supply of cell phone chargers, lighters, grappling hooks used for contraband package retrieval, as well as plexiglass—all intended to be smuggled into Oklahoma prisons.

In addition to the contraband, agents discovered four firearms and a stockpile of ammunition along with $8,500 in counterfeit United States currency. The counterfeit $100 bills have been turned over to the United State Secret Service and the firearms will be checked for connections to other crimes.

“This incredibly large seizure is the direct result of a commitment to preventing these things from winding up in one of our facilities where they pose a danger to inmates and staff alike,” Inspector General Ted Woodhead 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.”

Woodhead estimated the value of the seized contraband to be “hundreds of thousands of dollars” and said he expects to be filing charges on numerous individuals upon the completion of this ongoing investigation.