HOMINY, Oklahoma — Prison gives a person a lot of time to get creative.
Corrections officer at a prison in Oklahoma busted up a smuggling ring in which dozens of contraband items hidden inside footballs and basketballs were snuck into the prison by people outside tossing them over the fence into the yard.
The scheme came unwound on Christmas Day when officers spotted inmate Marcus Mitchell walking around the common area of the Dick Conner Correctional Center carrying a large bag filled with items. Mitchell, 27, is serving a life sentence for beating a 15-month-old baby to death.
When officers stopped him, they found six footballs and two basketballs inside that had been cut open and filled with contraband and then taped shut.
A review of perimeter security camera footage showed unidentified people throwing the balls over the fence shortly before Mitchell was caught.
Among the items found stashed inside included: 39 Cellphones, three MP3 players, one Bluetooth earpiece, nine cell phone chargers, 20 USB cords, packages of rolling paper, four cigars and nearly 10 pounds of tobacco.
“I thank the vigilant correctional officer for his attention to detail and swift action,” Corrections Director Joe Allbaugh said. “Cellphones are one of the most dangerous things an inmate can get their hands on while in custody. They are able to harass victims, continue a criminal enterprise or communicate with other inmates to alert them of officers’ movements.”
“We will ensure this inmate and the other inmates the contraband was intended for will receive proper punishment and time added to their sentences. Additionally, if we catch the individuals responsible, we will press criminal charges and prosecute them to the furthest extent of the law,” he added.