132 cell phones confiscated from travelers

Published 12:02 am Saturday, June 1, 2013

NATCHEZ Dozens of cellular phones were confiscated from two travelers on U.S. 61 North this week in what law enforcement officials said was an attempt to stem the flow of suspected prison contraband.

The Adams County Sheriff’s Office confiscated Wednesday 132 cell phones that an ACSO spokesperson said law enforcement officials believed were be intended for smuggling into the Adams County Correctional Center.

The confiscation happened after ACSO deputies pulled over a rental car with Florida license plates for a traffic violation.

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After questioning the travelers in the vehicle about their intended destinations, the deputies became suspicious and asked them for consent to search the vehicle, Adams County Sheriff Chuck Mayfield said.

Discovered in the car were 132 bubble-wrapped cellular phones, 128 phone chargers with their wires cut and 64 earpiece devices.

Mayfield said the way the phones, earpieces and chargers were packaged were consistent with how smugglers package such items intended to be illegally delivered into prisons.

The wires on the chargers were cut in a way that prisoners sometimes use to attach them to batteries.

“In the past, we have seen some of the phones that were smuggled into the different places are packaged in this certain way, and usually what they will do is get a bunch of them, wrap them individually, make a bundle and throw them over the fence of the prison,” Mayfield said.

The items were confiscated, but the car and the people in it were released.

Adams County Sheriff Chuck Mayfield said he contacted ACCC Warden Vance Laughlin and found out that ACCC had a parallel ongoing investigation into cell phone smuggling.

“Right now we have got the phones and the information from the two suspects who we released because we didn’t have a charge on them at the time, but we are cooperating with another agency to look into it,” Mayfield said.

“If we ascertain there was no violation, we will call the people and return the phones, but I have a feeling we are gong to be hard-pressed to get them to come back.”

ACCC is a federal immigration prison that is independently operated by the Corrections Corporation of America.