Kern Valley State Prison is one of six maximum security units in California. But inside, prisoners run a lucrative business that extends beyond prison walls.
"If you have an Internet ready phone or smart phone those can go anywhere from $700 to $1500," corrections officer Brandon Long said.
"Usually the mark-up is phenomenal," corrections officer Juan Yerena said. "They will purchase these go phones for around $20 and turn around and sell them on the yard for $800."
Cell phones are a high-priced and prized commodity in prison. Some inmates use the technology to illegally communicate with family and gangs.
"Prison gangs do run the state of California," Yerena said. "Their connection onto the street is incredible. They can set up drug transactions from these prison walls."
Confiscating cell phones is a high priority for officers.
Sybil, 2-year old Belgian Malinois, is trained to sniff for cell phones. She helped recover 475 cell phones at the prison last year. Her counterpart, Mongo, alerts when he smells drugs.
"He searches for marijuana, meth, heroine and cocaine," corrections officer Joe Chesley said of his dog Mongo.
It's Monday at the prison, the day after weekend visitations - a time when family and friends smuggle drugs and phones to inmates.
Officers want to search the cell of an inmate they suspect is selling phones. Long lets Sybil go inside the cell. In a matter of minutes she finds a phone. A few cells down, Mongo finds a trace of marijuana.
"What could take hours searching a building, these guys run through the building and it cuts the time in half," Chesley said.
Time is everything. The longer an inmate has a phone the more chances he has to conduct illegal business. Statewide, more than 15,000 phones were recovered in California state prisons last year. It's the nature of the beast, but these dogs help take a bite out of the business.
Handlers use the Belgian Malinois because they are high energy. Sybil is a rescue dog and Mongo was donated to the department.