Surprise search turns up drugs at Tenn. prison
By GARY TANNER
NASHVILLE, Tenn.- About 300 state agents swarmed Tennessee's largest prison early Thursday, months after legislators were told that state inmates were running drug rings, probably with help from employees.
"We are searching for all illegal contraband," including drugs, alcohol, weapons and cell phones, Sluss said.
The operation had been planned since April, when some state lawmakers criticized the department for not cracking down on contraband. Then-Correction Commissioner Quenton White told lawmakers that there was a conspiracy among prison guards to smuggle drugs and cell phones in to inmates and that some guards were gang members or sympathizers.
The Legislature added $481,000 to the budget to pay for six drug dogs to combat drug trafficking in state prisons. Those dogs and their handlers are expected to be in operation later this month.
West Tennessee State Penitentiary, 45 miles northeast of Memphis, has about 2,500 inmates and more than 800 staff members.
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