(BVI NEWS) – A massive amount of contraband has been discovered inside the territory’s adult penitentiary, Her Majesty’s Prison.
Cellular phones, alcohol, tobacco, offensive weapons, and a number of other illegal items were found stashed about the prison during a joint operation between the Royal Virgin Islands Police Force (RVIPF) and the United Kingdom military.
Commissioner of Police Michael Matthews said the police and military carried out the operation following Hurricane Irma, which damaged sections of the prison and led to 143 inmates escaping. One hundred and forty of those prisoners were recaptured.
“During that procedure, we did a cell by cell search and a room by room search of everything we could cover in the prison and it is correct to say we seized a quantity of contraband from across the prison,” Matthews said during an interview with BVI News.
It is yet to be established how inmates were able to smuggle the items inside the Balsam Ghut-based facility or whether disciplinary action will be taken against prison officers who are responsible for securing the facility.
The police commissioner said that is a matter for Superintendent of Prison, David Foot.
“Obviously I remain available to assist the superintendent should he ask for any further assistance with the establishment. But, generally speaking, we try not to put police officers in the prison. We try to leave that to the prison authorities to deal with that as they see fit.”
Usually-impeccable sources have told BVI News that the contraband found during the RVIPF-led operation was smuggled into prison before the hurricanes.