A Michigan State Police investigation is under way after marijuana and cell phones arrived with a food shipment Monday at Saginaw Correctional Facility in Freeland.
Prison inspectors searched the delivery truck after receiving information from inmates that the truck might be carrying contraband, Michigan Department of Corrections spokesman Chris Gautz confirmed Wednesday. In it, they found a quantity of suspected marijuana and cell phones and turned the case over to the MSP, Gautz said.
The food delivery vendor, Sun Valley Foods, is cooperating with the investigation, he said. Sun Valley did not immediately respond to an e-mail seeking comment.
Special 1st Lt. David Kaiser of the Michigan State Police confirmed the Tri-City Post is investigating the incident after a referral from the MDOC. But he said the investigation is too preliminary to release any details.
Michigan’s prison food contractor, Trinity Services Group, which replaced Aramark Correctional Services in September, is not implicated in the incident, Gautz said. The Corrections Department is conducting an internal investigation to determine if inmates who work in the kitchen were awaiting the illegal shipment, he said.
Under Aramark, which replaced about 370 state employees when it took over food services in December 2013, there were several incidents in which Aramark employees were caught trying to smuggle illegal drugs and other contraband into state prisons.
Anita Lloyd, a spokeswoman for the Michigan Corrections Organization, said officials there heard the contraband was found hidden in a crate of apples inside the truck.
“Any time contraband, whether it be drugs or cell phones, enters a prison, that’s a big safety and security concern,” Lloyd said.
Gautz said the incident shows the prison inspectors are doing a good job of stopping contraband before it enters state prisons.