A drug smuggling attempt turned into a massive inmate brawl at Mansfield Correctional Institution in Ohio when a drone dropped a package of drugs and tobacco into the prison yard.
The fight, which involved more than 200 inmates, broke out in the north yard of the facility and was so intense that the correction officers were forced to use pepper spray to get the situation under control, according to the prison officials. It also led officers to strip-search 205 inmates and put nine into solitary confinement.
The officers present were unaware of what had instigated the fight. In fact, it wasn’t until they reviewed the surveillance footage some time later that they realized that an unmanned aerial vehicle had dropped something off inside the prison.
As it turns out, the inmates landed their hands on a delivery of 144.5 grams of tobacco, 65.4 grams of marijuana, and 6.6 grams of heroin, according to prison authorities. The package was later found hidden in south yard’s equipment room.
If the heroin is half-pure, the amount would be enough for 140 individual doses, according to The Columbus Dispatch.
The drugs were reportedly meant for an inmate in the north recreation yard. However, someone else – or in this case, about 200 men – got to it first and the package was thrown over the fence, into the south yard of the facility.
While using drones as a drug mule may sound completely strange – and precariously creative – this wasn’t the first time a drone was used to deliver contraband into a secured compound.
Some other state prisons have also encountered similar problems, according to Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Corrections spokeswoman Jo Ellen Smith. Though she couldn’t elaborate on the matter due to security risks, she said the agency is stepping up its drone detection measures.
“It's something we're certainly aware of,” explained Smith. “We're taking a broad approach to increasing staff awareness and detection.”
In 2014, the Lee Correctional Institution in South Carolina claimed that a drone carrying marijuana, tobacco, and mobile phones had crashed just outside its walls.
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