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2 Arrested After Trying To Smuggle Contraband Into Prison

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McCorkel Meghan 370x278 (2) Meghan McCorkell
Meghan McCorkell joined the Eyewitness News team in July 2011 as a...
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BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Contraband bust. Two people were caught red-handed trying to smuggle drugs and a cell phone into the Baltimore City Detention Center–this as the corrections system continues to crack down.

Meghan McCorkell has more on how they were caught.

Two people were arrested and an inmate could face charges after they were caught on camera trying to get contraband behind jail walls.

On 2 a.m. Sunday, investigators say a detainee at the jail lowered a makeshift rope down to two people below. Officials say they attached a package filled with marijuana, tobacco and a cell phone. Those people didn’t know the entire thing was caught on Citiwatch crime cameras.

“This is just another tool that we use to try and stop suspicious activity,” said Mark Vernarelli, Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services.

Since January, public safety officials have partnered with the city to monitor crime cameras outside the jail.

Last spring, the jail made national headlines after 25 people were indicted in a massive sex and smuggling ring rung by Black Guerrilla Family leader Tavon White.

Thirteen correctional officers face charges for getting contraband into the facility. Seven have pleaded guilty.

As a result, the detention center now conducts 30 random, intensive searches of both staff and detainees each day.

WJZ recently got a tour of the jail facility that’s seen many security upgrades, including a 234-camera surveillance system. A new cell phone jamming system will soon be activated.

With the new efforts, jail officials estimate contraband is down 51 percent over October of last year.

“It’s a much calmer, safer, better-run facility than it was a year or so ago,” Vernarelli said.

And jail officials say they plan to keep it that way.

Jail officials have still not identified the inmate who lowered the rope.

The cell phone jamming system that will prevent detainees from using contraband phones is expected to be activated in December.

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