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Matsqui Institution on 4th day of lockdown as staff conduct ‘exceptional search’

The Matsqui Institution, a medium-security federal men's prison, has now been on lockdown for four days. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

A medium-security prison in the Fraser Valley remains on lockdown on Friday for the fourth consecutive day.

The Correctional Service of Canada (CSC) says the lockdown at the Matsqui Institution in Abbotsford, B.C., was implemented on Tuesday evening around 7:30 p.m.

It said the prison was put on lockdown to allow staff to conduct an “exceptional search.”

READ MORE: Someone used a drone to drop $26,500 of drugs, tobacco over a B.C. prison wall

The CSC would not say what prompted the search but, in a media release, said that it was “committed to preventing the entry of contraband into its institutions” and that it would work with police to “take action” against those who would smuggle contraband into prisons.

“The search was ordered to ensure the safety and security of the institution, its staff and inmates. Normal operations will resume as soon as it is considered safe to do so,” said Acting Assistant Warden Heather Kelly in a media release.

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WATCH: How a drone could drop contraband over a high wall

Click to play video 'Drone demonstration from Candrone in Burnaby' Drone demonstration from Candrone in Burnaby
Drone demonstration from Candrone in Burnaby – Jan 12, 2018

The CSC said all visits to prisoners have been suspended until the search is complete.

The Matsqui Institution has served as a federal medium-security facility since 1981 and has a rated capacity of 446 inmates.

This isn’t the first time it has made headlines for contraband issues.

READ MORE: Matsqui prison inmate caught with $5,700 worth of marijuana and tobacco

In January 2018, the CSC launched an investigation at the institution after someone used a drone to drop about $26,500 worth of drugs and tobacco over a wall at the prison.

The previous September, guards caught an inmate with $5,700 worth of cannabis and tobacco after he met with someone in the visitors’ area of the prison.

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