- Associated Press - Thursday, September 18, 2014

ROCKWELL CITY, Iowa (AP) - The discovery of hundreds of capsules containing an unknown substance at a northern Iowa prison has prompted a state drug investigation, officials said Thursday.

Authorities said that 300 to 400 capsules were found last week during routine searches by staff at the North Central Correctional Facility in Rockwell City.

Department of Corrections spokesman Fred Scaletta said the capsules were found inside the prison, but he would not say where. He said the department believes the capsules may contain illegal substances, and that’s why they are being sent to a state crime laboratory in Ankeny for processing and analysis.

The Iowa Department of Public Safety cautioned that test results will take several weeks to complete. The agency’s Division of Narcotics Enforcement and the Division of Criminal Investigation are leading the investigation.

Scaletta said no one has been arrested in connection with the discovery. He said he couldn’t reveal whether any inmates have been disciplined internally.

The minimum-security prison houses low-risk offenders, many of whom are nearly ready to complete their sentences and return to society. The Iowa Department of Corrections says the prison has 494 inmates and 107 employees.

Warden Cornell Smith declined comment, citing the ongoing investigation.

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