Only On CBS2: More Inmates Using Internet On Cell Phones To Orchestrate Crimes

NORCO (CBS) — More than 700 million people use Facebook – among them are some of California’s most-hardened prisoners.

“For the guys that we catch, it’s one of the most popular things they use in here,” said Sgt. Anthony Roman of the increasing number of inmates getting caught with cells phones.

Under state law, prisoners are forbidden to use mobile phones.

CBS2’s Jeff Nguyen recently visited the California Rehabilitation Center in Norco and Chino State Prison to see how inmates are accessing the internet and social networking sites from cell phones.

Last year, about 1,500 cell phones were confiscated at the Norco facility.

The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation uses a team of Belgian Shepherds to sniff out phones that are smuggled in.

The dogs’ ability to track a cell phone is so keen they’re able to separate a phone from other electronic devices.

“These probably go for about a thousand bucks,” Roman said, as he rummaged through some contraband.

Authorities say felons are accessing the internet to run organized crime rings, to set up murderous hits and, in the case of sex offenders, to stalk their victims.

“On a couple of occasions we’ve had to talk to a couple of inmates because they have been bothering the victims of the crimes,” Roman said.

Inmates caught with a cell phone could have 90 days added to their sentence.

Some are so bold that they’ve taken pictures of themselves in prison and posted them to Facebook.

CDCR recently reached an agreement with Facebook that makes it easier to shut down pages actively used by inmates.

During one visit, Nguyen saw correctional officers find eight phones at the Norco facility – one of them was tucked in a shoe. It was originally hidden in a deodorant container in an attempt to throw off the dogs’ scent.

The canines are able to sniff through that. Inmates have tried to mask the scent of their phone with coffee, spices – even peanut butter – but the dogs keep finding their cell phones.

  • 1stman

    More GROWAPAIR Using Internet On Cell Phones To Orchestrate West Hollywood dates.

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  • Another John

    Simple fix. Install signal blockers in the prison.

    • To AnotherJohn

      FCC controls the airwaves and it’s been a problem trying to get FCC approval to block cell phone signals.

  • Just Wrong

    I had to fight with MySpace to shut down the page of an incarcerated sex offender. FIGHT. heaven posted his prison address on his page. . Looking for more ladies. MySpace made me go through hoops. this even after the cdcr unreported to them about the violation.

    What is wrong with us? We give these monsters WAY too much freedom and privacy.

  • Just Wrong

    Oh, geez. Auto correct changed “he even” to “heaven”. Well, if that is not farther from the truth.

  • VictimsAction

    SB 26 was supposed to be effective last October. Is there any information available about how many inmates are losing their good time credits after they are caught with the phones? How many visitors been charged for smuggling them in? It would be nice to know the whole story so we can know if this emergency legislation is working or not.


    The guards are selling the phones to rich drug dealers to do their business. But, politicians, the mayor, and all people who hold office are too busy with their own corruption and schemes why should they worry about actually trying to keep the public safe?The mayor and other politicians are not in the business of public office to work for the public. They are in it to make money.

  • Malibu1369

    No where in this article is there any back-up to the sensationalistic headline. Please do some research instead of rehashing old BS that has already been proven BS. The vast majority of cell phones are smuggled in by the very Correctional Officers paid to guard the inmates and protect the public. That is fact. The vast majority of phones are used to keep inmates in contact with their family and support systems. That is a fact. Prison phones are expensive, often unavailable or broken and there are not enough for the population that needs to use them.

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