Prison shakedown leads to more than cell phones - - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News


Prison shakedown leads to more than cell phones

A systemwide shakedown of the huge Texas prison system is netting authorities more contraband than just illegal cell phones.

The seizure count of prohibited phones and phone components topped 120 items today as the first full week of the close inspection was ending. The seizures include 63 phones, 56 chargers and five SIM cards that swap information among phones.

But officers also have turned up 61 weapons, 52 instances of tobacco products and 14 discoveries of money. All are prohibited for the some 155,000 inmates in the state's 111 prisons.

A statewide lockdown of the system began a week ago. Governor Rick Perry ordered it hours after death row inmate Richard Tabler was caught making a call from his cell. The phone had been traced to a series of threatening calls that began earlier this month to state Senator John Whitmire.

Authorities said Tabler also shared the device with at least 9 of his fellow condemned prisoners. Investigators determined some 2,800 calls were made from the phone from inside the Polunsky Unit near Livingston.

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