The Metropolitan Correctional Center in Manhattan remains on lockdown, defense lawyers say, four days after officials received information that a gun could have been smuggled inside.
The federal lockup was initially put on lockdown Thursday, but as of Monday afternoon federal officials say they are still searching for a possible firearm that found its way into the facility. However, searches of the center have not turned up a weapon, keeping the security measure in tact for another day.
Multiple defense lawyers told News 4 New York they had been unable to gain access to their clients through Monday afternoon. The MCC did not return inquiries for comment. The federal Bureau of Prisons declined to comment "as the matter is under investigation."
Defense attorneys also said their clients have been restricted to their cells during the lockdown, not able to leave their cells to even shower.
The MCC has been under scrutiny since accused child sex abuser Jeffrey Epstein committed suicide in his cell. Two BOP officers were later arrested for allegedly forging documents that they had checked on Epstein, when prosecutors said the guards were sleeping and shopping on their computers. The have pleaded not guilty to the charges.
The MCC currently houses celebrity attorney Michael Avenatti, who is accused of stealing from client Stormy Daniels and separately was convicted of shaking down Nike. Lawrence Ray, the one-time informant against former NYPD Commissioner Bernard Kerik who is now accused of sexually abusing college aged girls, is also currently at the MCC. Ray has denied the allegations.
Mexican drug lord Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman was also housed at the MCC before his conviction.
It was not clear how long the search and the lockdown at the MCC were set to last. The BOP says about 700 inmates are housed at the MCC.
NBC News’ Pete Williams contributed to this report.