A drone carrying drugs and other contraband dropped its payload over a yard of inmates at the Mansfield Correctional Institution in Ohio recently, but the delivery evidently didn't go as planned. From the Mansfield News Journal:
According to the [Ohio Department of Corrections], on July 27 a fight broke out on the north recreation yard, and corrections officers Jade Wojciechowski and Melinda Hane called for assistance and gave orders for the inmates to stop fighting. Other inmates on both north and south recreation began running in the general direction of the fight. The officers then used pepper spray to control the fight and ordered all inmates to get on the ground. The inmates complied and remained on the ground as other staff responded.
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.
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.
The package's contents, newly detailed by state authorities, included "144.5 grams of tobacco, 65.4 grams of marijuana, and 6.6 grams of heroin," the News Journal reported.
The Guardian adds that highway patrol officers working in the area have recently ramped up efforts to catch conspirators on the outside who approach the prison in order to throw contraband to inmates. The crackdown could provide one possible explanation for the move toward attaching deliveries to small, hard-to-detect unmanned aircraft rather than pitching them over the wall.
Drones have come in for criticism lately due to the actions of a few morons who own them. When drones aren't grounding tanker planes that are trying to put out wildfires, they're heedlessly dipping between passenger jets at busy airports and now, evidently, they've been repurposed to air-drop heroin to inmates. The Guardian reports that authorities at Mansfield are aware of "other instances of drones breaching security" and are working to better detect them in the future.