The Metropolitan Correctional Center in Manhattan was put on lockdown Thursday after officials received information that a gun could have been smuggled inside. But a search of the center had turned up no weapons, two senior officials briefed on the matter told NBC New York Friday.
The search that began Thursday evening is being conducted throughout the jail facility as a precaution, based on information received suggesting a firearm may have been smuggled into the facility, the officials said. The information was being taken seriously and the search was ongoing.
A spokesperson for the Bureau of Prisons said Friday that MCC New York remained on "modified operations" due to the ongoing investigation. All visiting, both legal and social, has been suspended.
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"While this matter remains under investigation, we will decline to comment further," the spokesperson said.
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.
Pete Williams contributed reporting to this piece.