Gun found at facility where Epstein died by suicide as conditions continue to decline

There has been a sharp rise in assaults on prison officers.

March 06, 2020, 7:57 PM

The Metropolitan Correctional Facility, where financier Jeffery Epstein was found dead by suicide last August, continues to face systemic issues, with the latest case involving officials finding a gun that had been smuggled inside, the Bureau of Prisons confirmed Thursday.

"On Thursday March 5th, BOP staff located a loaded firearm in one of the housing units. The facility will continue to remain on modified operations status to finalize searches in all areas of the facility," the bureau said in a statement.

One source briefed on the matter said three to five officers have been put on administrative leave, but it was not immediately known if the suspensions were tied to the gun incident.

Shane Fausey, the national president of the Council of Prisons, the union that represents BOP officers, told ABC News that bringing a gun into a federal prison "puts everybody in extreme and unacceptable level of risk."

"It would be premature to assume how the contraband was introduced into the facility until a full and complete investigation is completed," he continued.

Fausey added that whomever did commit the crime should be punished to the full extent of the law.

PHOTO: FILE- This March 12, 2009 photo shows the Metropolitan Correctional Center in New York City.
This March 12, 2009 photo shows the Metropolitan Correctional Center in New York City.
Mark Lennihan/AP, File

Local union officials have also echoed this sentiment. Local union head Tyrone Covington called for a full-scale investigation "to determine who is responsible for bringing in a firearm into a federal facility."

The gun incident illustrates a larger problem at MCC, sources told ABC News.

From May 2019 to December 2019, there were 11 assaults of MCC officers, while there have been 15 in just the first two months of 2020, a source said.

Separately, the unit where Epstein was found dead is often not fully staffed, the source said, despite promises from the former director of the BOP and the attorney general.

One source described the prison as a "nightmare" to work in and outlined what they describe as a revolving door of leadership, where some members of upper management are only in their positions for 18 months before they move on to different facilities.

Typically, the source said, wardens and associate wardens stay at a facility much longer.

ABC News' Aaron Katersky and Alexander Mallin contributed to report.

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