MDOC seizes 69K, busts contraband smuggling scheme

The Mississippi Department of Corrections (MDOC) announced Thursday that its investigators have seized $69,000 in illegal funds from both inmates and their accomplices on the outside.

According to the report, prisoners have been using electronic money transfers to finance the smuggling of contraband such as drugs and cellphones before selling the items for exorbitant prices.

“MDOC monitors activity in inmate accounts. Investigations and cell searches have led to the discovery of numerous electronic money transactions, such as ‘green dot’ cards and Cashapp accounts, which inmates are not supposed to have,” MDOC Chief Investigator John Hunt explained. “In essence, inmates were using green dot cards to covertly buy and trade illegal drugs, tobacco, cellphones, and other contraband with other inmates and some guards who will be prosecuted.”

First-year MDOC Commissioner Burl Cain, who is accredited with transforming Angola in Louisiana from one of the nation’s bloodiest prisons into one of the nation’s top prisons, stated that this is a step in the right direction for Mississippi prisons, which are notorious for violence and gang activity.

“Contraband is used by gangs to control everybody else. This is another example of the monetary powerbase that gangs have been building for years,” Cain said. “They’ve been using this power to control cellblocks, to commit violence, kill inmates, and wreak havoc to all other prisoners who are just trying to serve out their time and get free. Governor Tate Reeves instructed us to make prisons safe again, and today, we took a major tool away from gangs and are reducing the power they’ve had for far too long.”

On top of that, Cain added that the seized $69,000 will be used to further the department’s crackdown programs.

“We needed money to buy and outfit mobile, Special Response Team vehicles to conduct contraband shakedowns at prisons,” the commissioner continued. “Well, we just found it. The gangs funded it.”

The cases will now be referred to district attorneys to review. Names of inmates and officers involved are being withheld until investigations are complete.