Golden Grove shakedown reveals phones, shanks

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ST. CROIX - The V.I. Corrections Bureau, working with the V.I. Police Department, conducted a shakedown of two housing units at Golden Grove Adult Correctional Facility on Thursday.

According to a statement Corrections released, the search started about 1:30 p.m. Thursday. Corrections officers, police officers and the gun dog unit searched the two housing areas.

Inmates were evacuated out of the units so officers could gain access and do thorough searches, according to the Corrections Bureau.

During the search, officers turned up two cell phones and two "mash/fake shanks," the release said.

The initiative, dubbed "Operation Safety First," lasted a little more than three hours "and is deemed successful based on the low number of items uncovered," acting warden Donald Redwood said in a prepared statement.

"The items found indicate a marked reduction of contraband coming into the facility and further suggests that the measures being taken to eradicate contraband are fulfilling their purpose," Redwood said.

This is the second joint search at the prison by Corrections officers and police in less than a month. During a nighttime search in May, cell phones, shanks and marijuana were confiscated, although Corrections would not provide specifics on how many of those items were found.

The May search came after two stabbings had occurred in three days at the prison.

In the overnight hours of April 7-8, federal agents conducted a massive search at the prison and uncovered weapons, cell phones, illegal drugs and a Sony Playstation. That search was part of an ongoing investigation into a contraband smuggling operation at the prison.

During the federal raid, agents found approximately 55 weapons, including homemade knives, or shanks, and other contraband that could be used as weapons, such as razor blades and scissors; 28 cellular telephones; a cell phone "booster"; a Sony PlayStation; and illegal drugs, which were seized from 33 separate cells, along with drug packaging material and other drug paraphernalia, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office.

Redwood call Thursday's shakedown "a very different and proactive approach to the safety and security of the facility toward a safer environment for inmates and the BOC staff."

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