Weapons Found at Bryan County Jail

3-15-06 A shakedown at the Bryan County Auxiliary Jail yesterday revealed illegal contraband, including a weapon found on a high profile inmate.

The idea was to catch inmates off guard before they could hide any contraband. But yesterday, what law enforcers found was disturbing. Authorities seized knives, cell phones, even a screwdriver.

"They stuff in mattresses, on ledges, they're very creative, have a lot of time on their hands," says Detective John Bates of the Bryan County Sheriff's Office.

A screwdriver was found in inmate John Cook's pocket. He's part of the Kevin Leon Cross case and charged with accessory to murder.

"In his case, I don't know that it would be used to attack someone, more to defend himself," says Sheriff Bill Sturch.

The items get into their hands a variety of ways, picked up around the building or handed off by visitors.

Yesterday, each inmate was stripped and searched by two members of the Department of Corrections Critical Emergency Response Team. Last Sunday's escape provided the details that led to the shakedown. The escape admittedly caused by lax security, the next task in the jail problem facing Bryan County authorities.

"You've simply got to have rules and abide by them, no matter what," Sturch says. "Occasionally in all hours of the day, the jail administrator or someone needs to walk in unannounced, 24/7 so they won't know when you're coming."

We've received phone calls from inmates' families of rough treatment yesterday. The sheriff says the shakedown procedure did happen according to protocol.

As for the inmates who were in possession of the contraband, the assistant jail administrator will write a report for the district attorney's office on what was found and they will decided what charges to press.