At least 30 grams of heroin, 250 grams of ganja, mobile phones and other contraband were seized from foreign nationals, during a surprise check on a high security block in Puzhal central prison (II) here on Wednesday. According to police sources, dozens of prison officials launched an intensive search operation early on Wednesday, based on specific input that some inmates were using narcotic substances and mobile phones.

While the heroin was found in the possession of Sivaruban alias Saminathan, 23 packets of ganja was seized from Fernando Joseph; they were both Sri Lankan nationals. Mobile phones and SIM cards were seized from James Okafar, Michael Odinaka and Chukwuemeka, all Nigerians. Cigarette lighters and some cash were also seized.

One of the prisoners, Alex alias Alexander, a Russian national, arrested in connection with the narcotics case, allegedly inflicted minor injuries on himself in protest against the search. Alex has been in prison since September 28, 2011, after he was arrested by the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB).

Prison authorities have launched a probe to investigate how the contraband was smuggled into the campus, the sources said, adding that mobile phones were also seized in Puzhal central prison (I) and Vellore central prison, when police conducted storming operations there last week.

“We will be referring the SIM cards to the State intelligence for analysis. It seems that the inmates manage to get the mobile phone handsets, SIM cards etc., when they go out to courts for remand extension or trial. It is not clear how they charge the phones since the cells have no power sockets,” a prison official said.