Drug Drone Drop Derailed

Greg Clarke/Flickr
Greg Clarke/Flickr

On Monday a civilian drone was seized after it crash landed inside Oklahoma State Penitentiary due to operator error. The drone’s operator hit the razorwire and lost control of the vehicle, which crashed in the McAlester Texas prison where it was confiscated by prison staff.

According to Tulsa World, the package, suspended from the drone by fishing wire, contained “two hacksaw blades, a cellphone, a cellphone battery, a hands-free device, two packages of cigarettes; two packages of cigars, two tubes of Super Glue, a 5.3-ounce bag containing marijuana, a 0.8-ounce bag with methamphetamine and a bag containing less than 1 gram of heroin.”

““I applaud and commend the quick action and diligence on the part of the staff who noticed the UAV that entered prison grounds. We are continuing to take a broad approach to increasing awareness in dealing with contraband at all of our facilities statewide,” said DOC Director Robert Patton to Tulsa World.

This is not the first time a drone carrying drugs has crashed in a prison, or elsewhere — smugglers of all types have a long history of staying at the cutting edge of technology. But as the New York Times‘ reporting has pointed out, drones pose a special problem for prisons due to the ease at which people can move light, high value packages over a wall where drugs can be much more valuable than they are on the street. Prisons are starting to have to deal with drones with some regularity as civilian models like the DJI Phantom Pro 3 can be purchased for under $1,000 used, and a Parrot can be purchased for under $300 — significantly less than the street value of the items carried on the inside when the contraband can be measured in ounces or grams.

That being said, if smugglers plan to continue to use civilian drone technology to subvert prison rules, they probably ought to learn to drive the damn things.

Follow Will Ross on Twitter @SawmillLoris.

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