A drone dropped a package of drugs and contraband into a prison yard yesterday, causing a fight to break out and a strip-search of 200 prisoners.
Officials at Mansfield Correctional Institution in Mansfield, Ohio say the drone was transporting more than 2 ounces of marijuana, more than 5 ounces of tobacco, and about a quarter-ounce of heroin.
From the Mansfield News Journal:
The incident occurred at 2:33 p.m. July 29 according to information the News Journal received Monday from a spokeswoman.
Upon reviewing the cameras, it was determined that a drone passed over the recreation yards immediately before the fight began. Further investigation revealed the drone dropped off a package intended for an inmate. The package was picked up on the north recreation yard, setting off a fight. The package was then thrown over the fence to the south recreation yard, according to ODRC.
All inmates (approximately 75 on north recreation and 130 on south recreation) were removed from the recreation yards to the gyms, where they were strip searched, run through the cell sensor, and clinic checked. The nine fighters were placed in solitary confinement status. There were no injuries to any staff or inmates, according to a report from ODRC.
Since most contraband is smuggled in hand-to-hand via guards and visitors, this unmanned contraband drop is a lower-risk proposition for everyone involved. It’s much harder to identify the supply’s source when the courier is an unmanned craft, provided the drugs don’t have an inmate name written on them.
Drugs-by-drone is a growing phenomenon — U.K. prison officials thwarted seven attempts in a four-month span this year. Saudi Arabia has reported similar tactics. (It’s also a preferred method of drug cartels.)
The same goes for perfectly legal drugs: The first FAA-approved drone delivery of medical supplies brought asthma, blood pressure, and diabetes medication to rural patients in Virginia last month.
If the trend continues, Amazon Prime could be dropping magazines and snacks to inmates sooner than we know.