KINGMAN—Inmates were placed on lockdown over the holiday weekend after a search uncovered illegal contraband and items in various stages of weapon form.

Mohave County Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman Anita Mortensen said the Mohave Adult Detention Facility was in lock down status from 9 a.m. Saturday until about 9 a.m. Monday for a special operation.

The special detail involved a search of inmates, their housing areas and assigned cells as well as several other areas of the facility commonly accessed by inmates.

“We had identified some missing cleaning supply equipment used by the inmates and began investigating further which led to some initial cell searches and ultimately the special detail,” said Captain Don Bischoff.

During the search detention officers reportedly found small pieces of metal that were in various stages of being fashioned into weapons and tools. In the initial search, a cigarette lighter was allegedly recovered from an inmate who had been concealing the lighter in his rectal cavity.

The lighter was located by using the recently installed body scanner. The inmate advised that he had been in possession of the lighter since before the scanner was placed into operation. 

The weekend searches resulted in more than 400 inmates being searched using the body scanner to include a search of their assigned mattress, cell, and housing units. The jail had suspended all movement of inmates and restricted them to their cells while the search operation was taking place. During that time, inmates were not allowed visitation or the use of the inmate telephone system. 

“Arizona statutes define contraband as any dangerous drug, narcotic drug, marijuana, intoxicating liquor, deadly or dangerous weapons, explosives, and wireless communication devices,” said Bischoff. “Also included in that definition is any article whose use or possession would endanger the safety and security of inmates and staff or the preservation of order within the facility.”

Promoting prison contraband involving weapons, explosives and drugs is a class 2 felony while all other cases a class 5 felony. Promoting prison contraband involves bring items into the facility, possessing the items in the facility and making items within the facility. 

Search efforts were slowed due to the regular holiday weekend activity as well as the amount of nuisance contraband that was found. Virtually anything not allowed in a detention facility is considered contraband as well as anything that, although permissible and perhaps even issued, once altered or used for something other than its intended use is also then considered contraband. Many times, food, issued clothing, and personal hygiene items become contraband when hoarded or retained in an excessive and reasonable supply. 

On Saturday, the Sheriff’s Office made a post on Facebook informing the public about a special operation taking place while the facility was in lock down. Sheriff Doug Schuster stated in the post that that there was no disturbance or any other event taking place that represented a safety concern.

“With the likelihood of weapons and tools being fashioned, it was appropriate to implement search activities and the searches will continue. Unfortunately, because of the nature of detention operations, we can’t announce to the public in advance when we plan these type of activities,” Sheriff Schuster.