HONOLULU (KHON2) — The Department of Public Safety is calling it ‘Operation Paper Shredder.’
“That resulted in five arrests involving several cases of a person’s intention to smuggle contraband into our facilities,” said Tommy Johnson, Department of Public Safety Director.
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DPS believes inmates have influenced their family and friends to smuggle illegal drugs into its correctional facilities. DPS only named Halawa Correctional Facility as one of the locations and said one case involved methamphetamine.
“Two of the cases involved smuggling drug paper laden with illegal drugs and drug paper is manufactured with controlled substances soaked on top of the paper or on the surface,” according to DPS.
It adds, the schemes are dangerous not only for the inmates, but staff, too.
“You don’t know how strong the drug is. Similar to lacing drugs with fentanyl, you don’t know what you’re getting so you take a little bit of it and it could kill you,” said DPS.
DPS said it has PPE for its mail screening crews, but it’s looking for more drug detection equipment to investigate similar cases.
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“There’s a huge cost to it. We’ve set aside fed money to explore the possibility of drug detection machines, first; that’s the best option,” added DPS.
DPS say it’s seen more individuals trying to smuggle illegal drugs into its facilities over the last two years. Corrections officers are required to screen all mail that enters DPS facilities.
“Our staff is very alert to the different textures of paper, the smell, the oily feel. If something looks a little bit off.”
Public Safety officials say the work isn’t done, there are multiple investigations ongoing. It has a stern warning for others out there looking to break the law.
“We will come for you. We will find you. We’ll arrest you and we’ll prosecute you to the fullest extent of the law whether you’re a citizen, an inmate or a staff member of the department.”
DPS expects additional arrests to be made.