Inmates keep phones in bowels in El Salvador jail

Four prisoners in an El Salvador jail hid cellphones, a phone charger and spare chips in their bowels so they could coordinate crimes from their cells, prison officials said on Wednesday.

The four men, all gang members, wrapped their phones and accessories in plastic and inserted them into their rectums “far enough to reach their intestines,” Ramon Arevalo, director of the maximum security Zacatecoluca prison, said.

Arevalo said the ruse was discovered during X-ray examinations following six weeks of investigations.

The men, members of the ultra-violent Mara Salvatrucha street gang and the first in El Salvador known to go to such lengths to make phone calls in jail, used the cellphones to manage robberies, blackmail and murders outside, Arevalo said.

The Zacatecoluca prison -‒ about 64km east of the capital San Salvador and currently home to 337 inmates—goes by the nickname “Zacatraz,” after the famously secure United States island penitentiary Alcatraz. - AFP

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