MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - Memphis Police Department's Organized Crime Squad conducted a raid at the Shelby County Corrections Center.
MPD said the raid was code-named Operation Jail House Rock. Officers contacted Shelby County leadership when they had credible evidence suggesting people conspired to bring illegal narcotics and contraband into the correctional facility.
Organized Crime Squad and Corrections Center investigators conducted an extensive search of the facility. They found 549 grams of marijuana, 9.5 pounds of tobacco products, 31 pints of cough syrup, 98 Alprazolam pills, alcoholic beverages, eight cellphones, and a pocket knife.
MPD detectives identified 21 people who they said conspired to distribute the narcotics and contraband to inmates in the facility. Those individuals have not been identified because the investigation is still underway.
"It's just sad that it is because that lets us know that our correctional officers or the deputies are not doing their job when it comes to the room," Memphian Angela Hampton said.
Shelby County Mayor Mark Luttrell addressed those concerns at a press conference Thursday.
"I'm disappointed in it. Secondly, it's reality. It happens," Luttrell said. "Thirdly, when it does happen we have to go back to the drawing boards and see what we can do that kind of plugs those holes and tighten things up a little bit."
Luttrell said he doesn't expect to change any upper management personnel, despite some of the staff members being implicated as playing a role in the contraband making it into the correctional facility.
He also said contraband making it into jails is nothing new, but it should not be taken lightly.
"Worst-case scenario is if we just accepted this as being routine prison work and not take it seriously, then it becomes compounded, staff become compromised more often, and then you do have disruptions in your facility--riots," Luttrell said.