Drones Caught Smuggling Drugs, Contraband To Inmates Locked Up In California

Officials in California are reporting an increase in drone usage above prisons throughout the state, recently acknowledging that the unmanned quadcopters have been used to deliver contraband into open recreation yards below — including a variety of illegal narcotics.

In a statement, the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) said it “has seen a significant rise in unauthorized drones on prison property statewide in the past year.” The agency is currently looking into repeated drone intrusions at a correctional facility near Bakersfield, where investigators concluded: “Inmates have figured out ingenious ways to introduce contraband into Kern Valley State Prison (KVSP).”

Court documents reveal evidence of several drone drops at KVSP last month. Smuggled items intercepted by prison officials include 15 cell phones, chargers, SIM cards, five hacksaw blades, razors, more than 2.4 ounces of marijuana, cigar wraps, heroin, methamphetamine, a few vials of phencyclidine (PCP), Krazy Glue, and a pair of tweezers.

There is no law in California prohibiting drones from flying over state prisons or county jails. The state legislature passed a bill banning the practice in 2015, but Governor Jerry Brown ultimately vetoed the measure. Since then, drone technology has become an increasing problem at detention centers in the state and all over the nation.

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