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Video: Contraband search during statewide Texas prison lockdown

Officials say a dramatic rise in illegal narcotics within the state’s prisons is increasing violence and putting CO, inmate safety at risk


TDCJ officers found 19 cell phones, 6 chargers, and other items, some of which were concealed inside a cell door at the Clements Unit in Amarillo.

Texas Department of Criminal Justice

By Greg Friese

HUNTSVILLE, Texas — Texas Department of Criminal Justice officials report the results of a systemwide lockdown and comprehensive search for all types of contraband. The effort to combat violence within the system, announced on September 6, has found hundreds of cellphones, a wide range of illegal drugs, and nearly 350 weapons, mostly sharpened metal.

The lockdown action was taken to address a rise in dangerous contraband and drug-related inmate homicides within Texas prisons. The increase in illegal narcotics within the system is putting staff and inmates at risk of violence. Additionally, in 2023 the number of inmate-on-inmate homicides has increased.

As a result, the agency is implementing an immediate lockdown and comprehensive search of all correctional facilities within TDCJ.

TDCJ has also implemented digital mail processing, comprehensive searches for anyone entering TDCJ facilities, and increased use of narcotic detection K-9 teams.

Contraband found during the systemwide search include:

  • 284 Cell Phones (385 additional cell phone accessories)
  • 38.5 Gallons of Alcohol
  • 347 Weapons (Generally pieces of sharpened metal with fashioned handles)
  • $376 in Currency
  • 214 Other Dangerous Items (Tablets, Lighters, Tattoo Guns, Pills, Handcuff Key, Drug Paraphernalia)
  • Illegal Drugs:
    • Amphetamines – 323 Sheets/Papers (A sheet is estimated at 100-150 hits)
    • Fentanyl –1.2 oz, 48 Sheets/Papers
    • Cocaine – 5 Trace Amounts
    • PCP – 1.6 oz, 83.5 Sheets/Papers, 429 Stamps (Stamps are ID sized paper or smaller)
    • K2 – 189 oz, 203 Sheets/Papers, 333 Stamps, 50 Trace Amounts
    • Methamphetamine – 14.9 oz, 2 Stamps, 6 Sheet/Paper, 13 Trace Amounts, 3 Rocks
  • 169 Actionable Tips which led to a bulletin being put out to the Units
  • 833 Criminal Offenses Reported to the TDCJ Office of the Inspector General