Officials raid Jackson County Jail for illegal contraband

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - Officials raided the Jackson County Jail for illegal contraband early Friday morning.

Sgt. John Payne with the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office said the raid began at 3:45 a.m. It was a planned raid, and the goal was to get illegal contraband from the jail including cellphones, weapons and narcotics.

"But the sheriff really wanted to make a statement, make an effort to make the jail safer for both the inmates and the COs," Payne said. "We're searching for different kinds of contraband, not just the drugs and the cellphones, but maybe the homemade weapons and those sorts of things."

About 60 officers and 10 K9 units raided three of the eight floors of the detention center, at the same time, so no prisoners were warned.

“There have been issues with the contraband coming into the jail and we determined we would like to put a stop to some of this,” said Jackson County Sheriff Michael Sharp.

41 Action News was contacted by a man who used to clean inside the detention center for five years. He was fired in 2013 but wanted to explain how prisoners got ahold of cell phones and other contraband. He asked to remain anonymous, fearing potential consequences of speaking out.

“I don’t see how a family member, or friend, can actually bring contraband in there. It’s impossible," he said. "There is no way they can get it to them.” 

Officials with the detention center confirmed to 41 Action News, there is always a plastic barrier that separates prisoners and visitors. The only people with direct access to inmates are lawyers and correctional officers.

“There are cameras in [the detention center] so it has to be seen. I don’t understand how it is not,” said the former worker, who blamed the correctional officers for the contraband problems.

If an officer is caught bringing contraband into the detention center, officials say, employment action is immediately taken. No one from the detention center could tell us if this has happened in the past.

If an inmate is caught with contraband, officials say, he or she is sent to a detention room. 

Payne said it is a multi-jurisdictional effort involving Kansas City, Independence, Lee’s Summit, Blue Springs, the FBI and the High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas.


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