By Dorian Hargrove and Mari Payton
More and more prisoners inside Donovan State Prison in Otay Mesa are armed with a new type of weapon each year: cell phones.
The reasons for the phones vary from trafficking drugs from inside prison walls to communicating with outside gang members or just to speak to loved ones at home.
Regardless of the uses, an analysis of data obtained by NBC 7 Investigates found the numbers of illegal cell phones confiscated at San Diego’s only state prison have increased dramatically, with 2018 seeing the second highest number confiscated since 2010.
According to the data, Donovan guards confiscated 439 cell phones from inmates in 2018.
That was the highest number of cell phones confiscated since 2015, when guards that year seized 418 phones from prisoners.