Entertainment

Drone carrying cell phone, marijuana crashes in prison yard

By: Walter, July 26, 2017

A drone carrying cell phones, tobacco and marijuana crashed into the yard at Washington State Prison, according to the Department of Corrections.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution This photo shows a Yuneec Typhoon drone and controller in Jessup, Md. Maryland State Police and prison officials say two men planned to use the drone to smuggle drugs, tobacco and pornography videos into the maximum-security Western Correctional Institution near Cumberland, Md. (AP Photo/David Dishneau, File)

A growing problem, drones have become the newest way inmates have used to get contraband that can be sold to other prisoners for a significant profit.

Corrections spokeswoman Joan Heath said Tuesday a drone crashed to the ground at the prison near Davisboro around 10:45 p.m. Monday. She could not say how many cell phones or how much tobacco and marijuana was recovered. No one inside or outside the prison has been connected to the drone, she said.

Confiscated cell phones were on display at a 2015 press conference. Federal authorities had obtained indictments that allege two groups of inmates used cell phones inside state prisons to run a drug ring across the metro area and perpetrate fraud schemes against individuals outside the prison walls. BOB ANDRES / BANDRES@AJC.COM The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

The state prison system has struggled for decades to stop contraband from getting to inmates but, they admit, prisoners are constantly finding ways to skirt any systems put in place to thwart them.

Tobacco is not allowed in Georgia prisons so inmates sell it to each other for a significant mark up.

And there is a market in the cell blocks for drugs as well.

There also is a demand for cell phones as prisoners use them to continue their criminal activities while still locked up.

Last year, officers seized 22,326 cell phones from inmates and visitors at all 67 Georgia correctional facilities, which include secure prisons and lower-level facilities.

The most common way inmates get such banned items is by paying correctional officers to smuggle them in or getting their friends and relatives throwing packages over perimeter fences. Unmanned drones are a relatively new approach.

For the most part, prison administrators only know that a drone has come and gone because pieces of packages dropped from the sky are found stuck in fences or in prison yards.

Still, in 2013, four people were arrested in Morgan in South Georgia after they used a drone to carry two pounds of tobacco, a cell phone and binoculars to the yard at Calhoun State Prison.

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