It’s not the first time a drone’s been used to drop contraband into a prison yard and you can bet your payload-ready DJI Phantom 3 Professional quadcopter it won’t be the last.
The latest incident, which as you’ll discover caused quite a ruckus among the inmates, took place at the at the Mansfield Correctional Institution in Ohio last week.
The special delivery, which came down in the prison yard, contained 144.5 grams of tobacco, 65.4 grams of marijuana, and 6.6 grams of heroin, JoEllen Smith, spokeswoman for the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction, told the Mansfield News Journal.
The excitement of seeing a quadcopter buzzing over the prison fence carrying a bunch of mind-altering goodies reportedly caused a fight to break out among around nine of the 75 prisoners who were in the yard at the time. Fearing that the rumble could get out of control, officers used pepper spray to restore order. No prisoners or staff were seriously injured in the episode, the facility confirmed.
Video footage of the incident taken by prison cameras showed the drone dropping a package into the exercise yard, at which point things turned ugly. Officers believe the consignment was meant for a single inmate, though there’s no word on whether they managed to identify either that inmate or the operator of the drug-carrying flying machine.
The Mansfield post of the Ohio Highway Patrol has recently increased efforts to nab people throwing contraband to inmates over the prison fence, though by the looks of it they’ll now have to add shifty-looking drone operators to the list.
Using drones to get contraband to inmates could become a growing problem for prison guards now that the technology is advanced enough and relatively affordable – and it sure beats using cats, which can be unreliable at the best of times.
Earlier prison-related drone incidents include a failed attempt last year to get drugs into the Lee Correctional Institution in Bishopville, South Carolina. Whoever was operating it clearly lacked the necessary flying skills as the machine smashed into the prison wall before it could reach the prisoners. Several other similar incidents in the U.S. and Canada have also been reported in recent years.