Police Find Smuggled Phones, Drugs in Cell

DRUGS, a knife, cellphones, chargers and tobacco were seized when police, accompanied by sniffer dogs raided Katutura police station cells last week.

The raid was carried out on the day an inmate was found dead, allegedly after he had used a sheet to hang himself from the burglar bars in the corridors .

Most cellphones and the dagga were found under toilet pots, and other illegal items were found stashed in lotion containers. Police did not find anything on the inmates when they carried out a bodily search.

Inspector Bennet Muyambango told The Namibian that the search was meant to curb the smuggling of illegal items into the cells, and that such random searches would be done on a weekly basis.

“We want to keep our cells clean, so we raid at least every week or two. The problem is just if we find something illegal in the cells, it’s hard to link them with a specific inmate because they don’t talk,” Muyambango said.

Overcrowding is evident in the Katutura police station where about 200 inmates share space meant for 100 people. There are no beds in the cells and inmates sleep on the floor. There are nine cells, including the juvenile cell. In one cell, there are 18 adults, who share one toilet and one shower.

In a separate interview with The Namibian, the Katutura police station commander Chief Inspector, Ismael Basson, said they face many challenges.

“There is nothing one can really do. We must make arrests but sometimes we have capacity to accommodate half the number we arrest. At the end of the day, however, we have to put these suspects somewhere,” Basson said.

About two weeks ago, prison authorities admitted in an interview with a local English daily that they are battling large scale smuggling of cellphones and various other items into jails.

Prisons deputy commissioner Eveline January was quoted saying that inmates were engaging in illegal activities from behind bars using smuggled cellphones.

“Cellphones are used as a means of survival, sources of income to organise crimes with people outside or to call to make use of cars for escape from prison,” she said then.

Source : The Namibian