HOUSTON (AP) - A systemwide shakedown of the huge Texas prison
system is netting authorities more contraband than just illegal cell phones.
The seizure count of prohibited phones and phone components
topped 120 items today as the first full week of the close
inspection was ending. The seizures include 63 phones, 56 chargers
and five SIM cards that swap information among phones.
But officers also have turned up 61 weapons, 52 instances of
tobacco products and 14 discoveries of money. All are prohibited
for the some 155,000 inmates in the state's 111 prisons.
A statewide lockdown of the system began a week ago. Governor
Rick Perry ordered it hours after death row inmate Richard Tabler
was caught making a call from his cell. The phone had been traced
to a series of threatening calls that began earlier this month to
state Senator John Whitmire.
Authorities said Tabler also shared the device with at least
nine of his fellow condemned prisoners. Investigators determined
some 2,800 calls were made from the phone from inside the Polunsky
Unit near Livingston.