3 Arrested For Using Drone To Air Drop Drugs, Cellphone Into Prison


Michigan police arrested three men Thursday after they a flew a drone over a prison and air dropped drugs and a cellphone to inmates below.

Jail guards saw the drone drop a package near a housing unit at Richard A. Handlon Correctional Facility in Ionia, Michigan at 4 a.m. Thursday. Guards notified local law enforcement when the drone flew back to drop a second package. Police later made three arrests and found the drone in a nearby field, Detroit News reports. A statement from corrections officials said drones are a “serious and constant threat” to the security of prisons in the state, and Michigan’s legislature is considering a ban on drones flying within 1,000 feet of jails.

“I am proud of the prompt and professional response of our staff and for the support and coordination with local law enforcement and the Michigan State Police to apprehend these individuals,” said Michigan Department of Corrections Director Heidi Washington.

The government has been increasingly cracking down on illicit drone usage in recent weeks. On August 7, the Pentagon announced that its personnel could shoot down drones flying over military bases, but kept the specifics of that authority classified.

“Protecting our force remains a top priority,” Pentagon spokesman Army Lt. Col. Jamie Davis said in a statement. “That is why the Department of Defense issued very specific, but classified, policies that detail how DoD personnel may counter the unmanned aircraft threat to personnel, vital facilities, and critical assets.”

Michigan’s Republican Gov. Rick Snyder signed a bill last year creating a task force to develop a drone policy for the state, and Democrats in the state House have also proposed a ban on flying drones within 1,000 feet of jails, prisons, courthouses, and law enforcement buildings.

The ban was not necessary to prosecute the three men responsible for Thursday’s incident, however, as all three will likely face felony charges of introducing contraband to a prison, according to a corrections department spokesman.

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