HAGERSTOWN, Md. (AP) — The state prison agency says it’s taking steps to staunch a spike in cell phone smuggling at the medium-security Maryland Correctional Institution near Hagerstown.

Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services spokesman Mark Vernarelli told The Herald-Mail Tuesday that 16 contraband cell phones were found at the prison in the last few weeks.

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He says they are the first contraband cell phones confiscated in any of the three prisons near Hagerstown this calendar year.

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The newspaper reports that the prison adopted tighter security measures Tuesday. The measures include having all staff clear a metal detector and undergo frisk searches on some occasions.

Contraband cell phones have been involved in a number of scandals, including the indictment of 44 people, including 27 correctional officers, last year at the state-run Baltimore City Detention Center.

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