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Drone Drops Pot and Contraband into Prison Yard; Melee Ensues

Maureen Meehan

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A drone hovering over the exercise yard at Ohio’s Mansfield Correctional Institution dropped a package of pot, heroin and tobacco into the midst of some 75 prisoners who, naturally, went nuts over the contents and chaos ensued. When guards finally showed up with pepper spray to break up the fight, they weren’t quite sure what had caused the problem.

Officials at the Mansfield prison didn’t realize the drone had paid a visit until later, when they viewed footage from a surveillance camera while investigating the fight.

Although the prison guards did not initially find the stash, it didn’t reach its intended recipient either; officers found it hidden in a rec yard equipment room, JoEllen Smith, a spokeswoman for the Department of Rehabilitation and Correction, told the Mansfield News Journal.

This isn’t the first appearance of a drone over an Ohio prison. Ms. Smith said there have been other instances of drones breaching security and that the agency is taking steps to detect the aerial visitors before they make their drops.

“Our agency’s top security administrators are taking a broad approach to increase awareness and detection of unmanned aerial systems,” said Smith.

Ohio isn’t alone in experiencing the unwanted aerial visitors. They are gliding over other prisons across the U.S., dropping such forbidden contraband as smartphones and chargers, in addition to drugs.

Prison officials are vigilant of visitors, employees and mail bringing illegal material into prisons as well as keeping a close eye on prison walls for such items as tennis balls containing drugs. But the very nature of a remote-controlled unmanned drone drug drop is obviously a new challenge. Smuggling has indeed gone high-tech.

 

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