Insane Ways People Have Smuggled Things Into Prison


You’ve probably seen silly cartoon gags
where a character puts on lipstick and a dress, pretends to be a prisoner’s sweetheart or
granny, cozies up to a guard and smuggles a file baked in a cake into jail. The crossdressing conspirator is either caught
by suspicious officials in some zany fashion or the prisoner gets their hands on the treat
encased tool and manages an improbable escape. Is this trope based on a true life events
or is it simply an amusing joke? What are some of the weirdest ways people
have smuggled items into prison? Prisoners have indeed received contraband
concealed in bakery items. An 1804 anthology of criminal behavior discusses
one such incident. In England, gang member and pickpocket William
Blewitt was sentenced to 7 years for an undisclosed offense. He was incarcerated on a prison ship bound
for America. William caught wind of some prisoners’ plans
to escape before the voyage could get underway. They had procured saws and files hidden in
cakes of gingerbread and intended to use the instruments to free themselves. William snitched to the captain about his
fellow felons before they could escape. This was one instance where snitches didn’t
get stitches. The grateful captain pardoned William for
his loose lips. Sadly, William quickly returned to a life
of crime. People also tried the tools hidden in cakes
exploit in America. In 1909 Los Angeles, a Mr. Humely was arrested
for passing a forged check. While jailed and awaiting trial, he was sent
two cakes—one frosted with chocolate icing, the other with white icing. The sheriff intercepted the package and thought
the sweets were curiously heavy. Cutting open the cakes, each was found to
contain half of a 38-caliber revolver. Mr. Humely had an elaborate plan to reassemble
the gun, threaten or kill guards in order to get the jail keys and make his escape. He and his accomplice who sent him the cakes,
planned to sail to Mexico, where they hoped to get involved in the opium trade. For the cake caper and his bad checks, Mr.
Humely was ultimately sentenced to seven years at Folsom prison. Frankly, contraband in baked treats is just
the tip of the iceberg. Humans are incredibly resourceful and wildly
enterprising, especially when they are locked up. Time hangs heavy on inmates’ hands and they
can spend days plotting how to receive goods from the outside world. There’s been a wide variety of food seized
for containing prohibited items. At the Corradino Correctional Facility in
Malta, officials seized a banana stuffed with a cardboard tube of heroin. The smugglers managed to be let off the hook,
while the inmate set to receive the fruit was given an extra 11 months in detention. Officials in Tripoli’s Tyre Prison once confiscated
16 potatoes brought for a prisoner. You’d think potatoes would make for an innocuous
care package, but the tubers were stuffed with hashish. The smuggler was taken in custody, but his
cleverness was appreciated. Worldwide, authorities are constantly fighting
an ongoing battle to keep prohibited items out of the hands of jailbirds. Sometimes prisoners have some unusual partners
in crime. In 1938, two prisoners in solitary confinement
at a prison in Amarillo, Texas kept getting their hands on cigarettes, much to the puzzlement
of County Jailer Dick Vaughn. Eventually another prisoner spilled the beans. The prisoners had taught a large cockroach
to carry a smoke and match on its back. The insect would scurry through a crack in
the wall leading to the solitary cellblock. Dick was so impressed by the inmates’ ingenuity
that he released them from solitary confinement saying, “anybody who could make a cockroach
work deserved more freedom for his activities.” Other animals have also been used to try to
deliver illicit goods. One day, guards at a medium-security prison
in northeast Brazil noticed a stray cat with a bag strapped to its middle. After detaining the purring prowler, authorities
found two saws, two concrete drills, a headset, a memory card, a cell phone, and batteries
in the bag. The cat had been a familiar visitor to the
prison grounds; guards thought the cat was raised by inmates. The authorities tried to question the cat,
but it refused to cooperate. I guess the cat got its own tongue. Birds as couriers are a popular tactic. In 2009, prisoners in southeastern Brazil
reportedly bred carrier pigeons inside their jail. The birds were smuggled out of the prison,
outfitted with mobile phone parts by people on the outside, and then released. As carrier pigeons instinctively fly home,
they returned to the jail. At least two pigeons arrived with deliveries,
but were caught and had their goods confiscated. On a more sinister note, some criminals didn’t
have the patience to work with live birds. At a prison in New Zealand, prisoners got
someone to stuff dead birds with methamphetamine and throw them over the prison wall into the
exercise yard. Then the prisoners would attempt to retrieve
the tiny drug filled corpses during recreation time. Another popular endeavor for passing prohibited
objects is attempting to conceal them in sentimental gifts from loved ones. In New Jersey, relatives of inmates dissolved
the drug Suboxone into a paste and painted it onto pages in a coloring book. They mailed the gift to the prison, even writing
“To Daddy” on the book in an attempt to diffuse suspicion. However, the prison had a known issue with
drugs in coloring books. Upon arrival, the book in question was confiscated
and both the prisoners and the family members faced charges. A Cincinnati woman and her incarcerated boyfriend
faced felony criminal charges after she reportedly tried to smuggle a Bible laced with heroin
to him. Clearly, she was not doing the Lord’s work. Guards noticed an odd stain on the Bible,
which later proved to be 30-40 hits of heroin. Paper hasn’t been the only item infused
with drugs. Michael Jones, a Kentucky inmate was charged
with murder when one of his cellmates died from an overdose of methadone. Jones, who was in jail for a DUI charge, had
been out on a court-ordered furlough. When he returned to jail, he brought back
with him a pair of underwear soaked in liquid methadone. Jones tore the shorts into pieces and shared
them with his fellow convicts. A tried and true strategy of prison smuggling
is leaving items on the grounds of the prison for inmates to later collect. In many prisons around the world, officials
are struggling to combat the trend of drones flying over and dropping contraband on to
prison yards. To deal with this issue, several US states
have passed ‘no fly zone’ laws for detainment facilities. Other strategies proposed to thwart drone
smuggling are drone tracking systems and drones that chase down and catch other drones. Dutch authorities tried out a drone-hunting
eagle program, but had trouble getting the birds to cooperate. One man tried to achieve an illegal prison
delivery via arm power. Christen D. Moore tried to throw a football
filled with cell phones, pot and heroin into the inmate exercise yard at the Cotton Correctional
Facility in Jackson, Michigan. Unfortunately, the heavier than normal ball
only made it over the first fence, failing to clear the second one. The football was recovered by prison staff
and Moore was convicted of furnishing contraband to a prisoner and being a terrible passer. Probably the most common method used for transporting
banned items is the human body. In 2006, a grenade was detonated in a Colombian
jail, killing five inmates and injuring 20 others. Officials were stunned when they found out
how visitor Linda Alvarado delivered the explosive. We’ll let you figure out where she hid the
grenade. Yes, there. In fact, women inserting and attempting to
carry illegal items is so commonplace, there’s even a slang term for it, ‘prison pocket’. Since guards at the Colombian prison were
not allowed to inspect the genitals of female visitors, Linda was able to carry the weapon
into the prison without issue. She then removed the grenade, passed it to
her criminal contact, and was able to leave without being caught. Tiffany Scurry was attempting to visit an
inmate in a Florida prison when she failed a routine pat down. Guards felt mysterious lumps in her hair. They ended up finding 30 Oxycontin and ecstasy
pills hidden under her weave. Men have also gotten in on the body action. A Kentucky prisoner once put his foreskin
to good use. Louisville Metro Corrections searched Antoine
Banks during intake after he was arrested on a drug charge. Prison officers discovered a small bag of
crack cocaine in his boxers. This led to a thorough strip search where
the officers found a tiny bag of crack wedged in the foreskin of his penis. As a result, Banks was charged with trafficking
a controlled substance. On February 4, 2016, Stephen Cavanagh, an
inmate at HMP Manchester, a high security prison in Manchester, England complained of
abdominal pain. Prison staff sent him to the health wing where
an X-ray was administered. The scan showed medical staff a sight they
will never forget- a clear picture of a mobile phone hidden in Cavanagh’s anal passage. The inmate was sent to a segregation unit,
where he was forced to pass the phone. In May of 2019, a visitor attempting to enter
a Virginia jail was caught with nearly a dozen oxycodone tablets under their dentures. As a result, they ended up with serious felony
charges. Obese visitors and inmates have attempted
to smuggle weapons and drugs hidden in their fat folds. Other places humans have hidden items include
prosthetic limbs and in the socket of an eye that had been lost in a fight. We could go on and on, but you get the idea. People are disgustingly creative. Prisoners caught with contraband can face
a variety of punishments. Of course, the severity of the punishment
depends on the behavioral history of the inmate and the item they were caught with. Common punishments include the loss of privileges
such as phone time, TV or visitation. If the found contraband is a weapon, the offender
might get segregation or solitary confinement. In the worst incidents, inmates faces new
charges and have time added on to their original sentence. People caught smuggling contraband to prisoners
can also be charged and given fines or even a jail sentence of their own. Considering the likelihood of being caught
and the high consequences, why do criminals take the risk? There are a variety of different reasons. Prison can be a dangerous place and inmates
want a weapon to protect themselves. Being locked up is also boring and having
drugs or a mobile phone can make time pass faster. As cell phones have become a ubiquitous part
of modern life, they’ve shown up in ever increasing numbers smuggled into jail. In 2006, the state of California seized 261
mobile phones from inmates. By 2010, they confiscated a whopping 10,700. In 2018, officials confiscated over 13,000
phones. A smartphone means a link to the outside world,
an endless source of online information, and a potential stream of revenue. A gangster in New Jersey was caught using
a mobile phone to run an identity-theft ring that brought in a quarter of a million dollars
for him and eight conspirators on the outside. He’s definitely not the only criminal to
run an empire via smartphone from inside a jail. Before his death, creepy cult leader Charles
Manson was twice caught with a mobile phone. Some enterprising inmates have items smuggled
to them for the purpose of selling them or currying favors in jail. A smartphone might cost triple what they cost
on the outside. Rates fluctuate based on the degree of difficulty
in smuggling to a particular detention center. In 2018, the California Correctional authorities
said the going prison black market rate for a phone was around $1,500. While we can all agree that inmates should
not have access to weapons, drugs and even mobile phones, some prisons have attempted
to even turn books into contraband. A few states, including Washington have tried
to ban prisoners receiving books from non-profit organizations under the guise that there are
items are being smuggled in books. Sure contraband is smuggled through books,
however due to space constraints, the incident of smuggling via book is fairly low. Furthermore, many groups check the books before
donating them to the prison. The real contraband in this instance is information. Though education in prison lowers recidivism,
censorship and or limited access to reading materials is common in detainment centers. Texas, Arizona and Kansas have come under
fire for their long lists of banned magazines and books. Often mail room prison staff can reject or
even outright deny reading materials at their personal discretion. Frequently rejected reading materials are
civil rights texts, histories of race relations in the U.S., and books discussing gender and
sexuality identity. Reading materials can be a prisoner’s only
contact with the outside world, especially if they’re estranged from loved ones. Also, books can provide important information,
especially vital legal knowledge to incarcerated people who have limited resources. Thankfully, there are a number of non-profit
and volunteer prisoner book exchange programs across the US. Necessity is definitely the mother of invention. It’s amazing, gross and terrifying the methods
people have used to attempt to sneak items into prisons. What do you think is the weirdest item people
have attempted to smuggle into prison? Let us know in the comments! Also, be sure to check out our other video
called New Evidence Shows Alcatraz Prisoners Survived The Prison Escape! Thanks for watching, and, as always, don’t
forget to like, share, and subscribe. See you next time!”

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