The Main Stream

Jan 10, 2012 5:45 AM

Detecting drugs in Pima County

TUCSON-It's a state of the art piece of equipment used in airports to detect drugs. It's been inside the Pima County jail for almost a year.

Six months ago a Crime Trackers investigation revealed inmates were attempting to smuggle drugs in the most unusual ways. Today we follow up to find the Morpho Drug Detection machine continues to help corrections officers in more ways than one.

The machine is one of the tools used to keep the drugs out of the facility. Lt. Sean Stewart is head of the Security Services, he says, "We have found at least 50 items that we would not have found without utilizing that machine."


News 4 obtained photographs from the jail, a sample of the contraband the machine has found hidden in the most surprising places. Lt. Stewart says they've discovered the drugs, "Behind the scrotum or near the rectum behind the butt cheeks we would have never found them during a normal pat search."

Lt. Stewart says some of the inmates purposely bring contraband into the jail. "When they get in here the narcotics they have on them are worth 3 to 4 times more than what they can see it on the street."

Not only are drugs detected but during the pat downs officers also find weapons in this never before seen video a knife is discovered.

These are pictures of some the weapons officers have found. One knife was hidden underneath a woman's breasts. Lt. Stewart adds, "The buck stops here they come in we miss it we fail the officers and inmates are in jeopardy because we didn't do the job we should be doing."

So as long as inmates keep trying to smuggle illegal contraband into the facility corrections officers will stay a step ahead and will continue to use innovative methods to continue to keep the public safe.

Jail officials say the drug detection machine was purchased with funds from a grant, and not from the taxpayers. They have two machine the one you just saw in the mail jail, the other one located at the Mission facility.
The inmates who are found with contraband are charged with Promoting dangerous prison contraband, a felony.

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