The illegal use of drones for actions such as smuggling contraband into jails is now a common occurrence, so much that the government has created a legislation for it, setting the punishment for such smugglers to two years of jail time. Such contraband as may be smuggled include but are not limited to drugs, mobile phones, and other related stuff.
It has, however, now been revealed that criminal networks may have now joined the ranks of those using the drones as smuggling devices as reports point to the fact that such organizations use these unmanned aerial devices to bring in super strength drugs and mobile phones to inmates.
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New Tactics Exposed
This tactic was recently uncovered in the secluded area of a prison in Oxfordshire where a drone had crashed with its entire cargo of cannabis. The cargo was found near a Category B Bullingdon prison. The operation to make these deliveries was one that was carefully planned and carried out as the crash site shows that the smugglers are well aware of the prison parts that were not covered by CCTV cameras. This could also mean that information about the prison was leaking outside as the drone pilot could not have obtained that information except he had inside help. According to the prison officials, the super strength drug and mobile phones would have been ordered by the inmates in preparation for the coming Christmas season.
Also, the fact that the discovery was only made when the drone crashed has heightened the fears of prison officials who now fear how many of such deliveries that they might have missed in the past, with the time frame extending to a couple of years before when it was possible that these deliveries could have started. Currently, the officials cannot state whether the drone was being used by an operator who was simply trying to help a relative or pal or by a group of criminal gangs.
An insider was quoted saying, “The drone was in a part of the jail without CCTV. It was well planned. We have no idea how many times this method of smuggling has been used before.”
Commenting further on the incident, Glynn Travis of the Prison Officers Association said, “Drones are a major security issue. They are being used more frequently. It was only luck that this one crashed before it could be emptied.”
Drones have been used in the past to smuggle contraband into prison yards with the most recent being the occurrence at Strangeways, where a prison staff found a drone which was filled with illegal products in the yard where it crashed.
With the current sentence for anyone caught using drones to smuggle or carry contraband now set at 2 years, the sentence could even go much higher than that depending on the exact kind of content that the drone was carrying.