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200 Officers In Fox Hill Cellblock Shakedown

Some of the items seized in the raid.

Some of the items seized in the raid.

By AVA TURNQUEST

Tribune Chief Reporter

aturnquest@tribunemedia.net

MORE than 200 officers across three law enforcement agencies conducted an overnight prison raid and recovered more than a dozen cell phones, deadly shanks and suspected marijuana.

While no arrests have been made, Assistant Commissioner of Police Clayton Fernander yesterday said officers found to be engaged in corrupt or unlawful practices will be fully prosecuted, and forecast the strengthening of vetting services across all law enforcement agencies.

The joint task force, inclusive of officers from the prison, the Royal Bahamas Defence Force, and three police units: uniformed officers, drug enforcement, and the Flying Squad, conducted a full sweep of the Fox Hill compound in an operation code named SIP (suppressing incarcerated prisoners) that lasted from 10pm on Tuesday until 6am yesterday morning.

The raid was spurred by law enforcement intel and the incidence of several videos going viral last week purporting to show inmates at the Bahamas Department of Correctional Services. In the short clips, men could be seen making gang references, smoking marijuana and playing music from a portable speaker.

“We went from cell to cell,” ACP Fernander said, “and we spent some quality time conducting searches in those cells. As a result of our search we recovered a total of 19 cell phones, 11 cell phone chargers and 42 homemade shanks. These are very dangerous shanks capable of causing serious injuries or death, along with a large quantity of suspected marijuana.

“The marijuana, drugs were already packaged as if it’s for sale already. We were able to recover those items from the various cells and I must say the inmates there were so creative in hiding those items,” he said.

“We had to really spend quality time searching each cell with the assistance of our K-9 Unit as well who were able to sniff out some of the drugs that were hidden in areas in the cells.”

The raid was the first full search for the year, according to Deputy Commissioner of Corrections Bernadette Thompson-Murray, who said a search was conducted of one housing unit on Tuesday.

She explained that the items were likely brought onto the compound due to corruption, and acknowledged the possibility of a network of officers.

“Upon being employed, things happen, a lot of officers live in the neighbourhoods of these inmates and if not strong enough then you will fall prey,” she said.

Inmates utilised ingenious methods to subvert prison rules, ACP Fernander said, pointing to cellphones hidden in books with pages dug out, and the usage of wires from light fixtures in the ceiling to charge the phones.

He said the operation will be the first of many collaborations as law enforcement agencies work to re-strategise efforts to meet national security goals.

ACP Fernander continued: “You can’t be incarcerated and be able to be in touch with the world at your pleasure, at your will, that’s a no-no. As a result of this operation we will go away and re-strategise how we will move forward to ensure we disrupt that type of operation that is going on in the Bahamas Department of Correctional Services.

“Once we identify those officers who are corrupt or in bad practices, we will deal with them and put it before the court. We have a lot of work to do with respect to the items retrieved…a lot of inquiries to make. We will be interviewing those persons who were found with the items.”

Comments

proudloudandfnm 5 months, 1 week ago

If our political parties would stop the jobs for votes nonsense our government would not be so bloated and personnel can be paid a proper salary. Much of the corruption is due to piss poor salaries..

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DDK 5 months, 1 week ago

Bloated civil service and theft and squandering of taxes has long been endemic. The current Government IS attempting to bring some sort of change in the right direction but it is a mammoth task.

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TheMadHatter 5 months, 1 week ago

Why is there no public list that scrolls every night on thr Parliamentary Channel? The list should show the name of each person held, convicted of what or in remand, date entered, and expected date of release or expected date of hearing or trial or habeas corpus or whatever.

As it is now, the government seems to operate a secret gulag where persons are just swept off the streets and disappear. How many times have we heard stories of people held in remand for years and then being released under their Constitutional right, or a family going from station to station looking for loved ones only to be told they were transferred but the sheet doesn't say where they were transferred to.

Of course, the well known QC is not aware of these issues Bahamians face. Of course not.

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stillwaters 5 months, 1 week ago

I thought this type of sweep was done at least once a month. They wait for videos to be sent out of the prison before doing this. Slackness still reigns supreme in just about every government ministry. People also are still buying car licenses, under the counter, at Road Traffic after all that technology updating.

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Aegeaon 5 months, 1 week ago

Why are they allowing criminality to appear as a glamorous life without danger? Seriously, they REALLY need to invest in national security in not against illegal Haitians, but against gangbangers overall that flashes their murderous toys in front of our eyes, and recruit kids into this garbage job.

For all intents. It's time to stop!

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stillwaters 5 months, 1 week ago

Trust me, Aegeaon, we can clean up the prison and deal with the Haitians at the same time, so stop pushing your agenda for us to ease up on your people.

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