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MDOC: Chicken wings, pot thrown into prison in footballs

December 9, 2020 GMT

LEAKESVILLE, Miss. (AP) — Corrections officials at a South Mississippi prison say they confiscated dozens of illegal cell phones and pounds of marijuana and barbequed chicken wings, some of which were concealed inside footballs and thrown over a prison fence.

The footballs and other packages cleared South Mississippi Correctional Institution’s double 18-foot-high fences around 1:30 a.m. Monday and were detected by the prison’s sensing technology, officials said in a press release.

The contraband was split into 25 packages, which included 38 cellphones, cigars, 20 pounds (9 kilograms) of tobacco and rolling papers, 4 pounds (1.8 kilograms) of marijuana and 7 pounds (3.1 kilograms) of barbequed chicken wings.

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Superintendent Andrew Mills said Security Chief Michael McLendon spotted the vehicle carrying the items. A search is underway by state and local law enforcement.

The inmates found connected with the smuggling attempt will lose eligibility for early release and accumulated earned time, officials said.

Deputy Commissioner of Institutions Jeworski Mallett said trespassing on prison grounds is illegal. He said the Department of Corrections is cracking down on contraband using new technology and are developing plans to re-open perimeter guard towers with marksmen armed with high-powered rifles.

Mississippi Department of Corrections Commissioner Burl Cain said gang leaders use contraband “as a way to control other inmates.”

“We’re choking off their operations they’ve used for decades to control prisons,” he said. “Now we’re installing and using the latest security systems, drones overhead, and cameras and scanners everywhere.”