The Maldives Police Services have seized illegal narcotics and mobile phones in Maafushi Prison on Sunday.
A Police and Department of Penitentiary and Rehabilitation Services (DPRS) joint operation uncovered 50 rubber packers, one bullet size packet, one can and 22 cellophane packets containing illegal drugs. Five additional packets with traces of illegal drugs were also found.
Police discovered 15 mobile phones, 17 mobile phone batteries, 26 SIM cards, three mobile phone chargers, one SD memory card and one knife during the raid.
In a statement on Sunday, the police said that the operation was conducted after police received reports that inmates in Maafushi prison had been calling various people, asking them to recharge their phones with large amounts of cash.
Police said that inmates have also phoned people outside jail and told them that they will conduct useful projects in the Maldives and beneficial work and asked for money in return.
Inmates had also called shops pretending to be fishermen calling from a fishing boat or staff working on a safari boat, and have asked the shops to put credit in their mobile phones promising to pay the shop back at a later date, the police said.
The police advised people not to participate in money transactions proposed by strangers and not to recharge mobile phone accounts of unknown individuals.
Police said they clarified these reports first through police intelligence department before raiding the cells.
When asked how inmates were able to smuggle illegal substances into prison, Deputy Minister of Home Affairs Mohamed Hanim said he had not yet received details on the operation.
The police said they have previously issued statements to increase awareness among the public regarding such crimes, and said it was regrettable that not enough cooperation is being received from the people to stop these types of crimes.
In March 2010, the then-State Minister for Home Affairs Ahmed Adil said that jail officers were being investigated on suspicion of helping inmates bring mobile phones and drugs into cells in Male’ prison.
In May 2011, the then-Head of Department and Penitentiary and Rehabilitation Services (DPRS) Mohamed Rasheed confirmed that a police officer was being questioned for allegedly attempting to smuggle charged phone batteries to inmates at Maafushi prison.