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April 22, 2015

New problems with drones smuggling contraband in to prisons

Drone-drops-mobile-phones-over-prison-walls_2.w_lThis New York Times article would perhaps be amusing if it were not so disconcerting.  The headline is is "Illegal Air Mail for Prisoners, via Drones," and here are excerpts:

During the graveyard shift at 1:44 a.m., security cameras at the prison here picked up the blinking lights of an unidentified flying object approaching the facility’s fence. A corrections officer was dispatched to investigate, but by the time she got there, all she could see was a man running away into the dense forest that surrounds the prison.

It was not until dawn that officers found a package that included a cellphone, tobacco and marijuana tangled in the power lines outside the prison and a small drone that had crashed in the bushes nearby. In the woods, investigators located a makeshift campground, the remote control device used to fly the drone, a bottle of grape­flavored Gatorade and drugs.

“It was a delivery system,” said Bryan P. Stirling, the director of the South Carolina Department of Corrections, explaining how the drone’s operators had planned to send the contraband into the prison, the Lee Correctional Institution. “They were sending in smaller amounts in repeated trips. They would put it on there, they would deliver it, someone inside would get it somehow, and they would send it back out and send more in.”

It is the high­-tech version of smuggling a file into a prison in a birthday cake, and it underscores the headache that drones are now creating for law enforcement and national security officials, who acknowledge that they have few, if any, ways of stopping them.

Drones flying over prison walls may not be the chief concern of corrections officials. But they say that some would­be smugglers are experimenting with the technique as an alternative to established methods like paying off officers, hiding contraband in incoming laundry and throwing packages disguised as rocks over fences into recreational yards.

The authorities have detected at least three similar attempts at corrections facilities in the United States in the past two years. In the same period, there were also at least four reported attempts abroad, in Ireland, Britain, Australia and Canada.

April 22, 2015 at 06:54 PM | Permalink


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The government has its technology, the crooks have theirs.

Technology may be a factor in the dropping crime rate.

It may have dropped the real rate.

Or, it may have shifted crime to those not being counted, and crime is actually soaring.

For example, is identity theft being counted when we say crime is decreasing. Does a lower lead blood level decrease the rate of identity theft or increase it? The profit from identity theft seems to exceed that of a bank robbery, without having to get dressed and travel to the bank location. Robbery loss is $70 million. ID theft is $26 billion. Three quarters of bank robbers are caught. Only a tiny fraction of ID thieves are caught. One is a violent crime the other a white collar crime, privileged and coddled by the lawyer.


One should consider the falling crime rate to be a lawyer propaganda myth. It is meant to justify loosing the criminals, and to solve only the problem of currently high lawyer unemployment. They did this before. They banned the death penalty. They saw a $multi-billion industry evaporate. Oops, an obvious mistake, and so they reversed themselves, and tuned the death penalty to have almost no death penalty but with that $billion appellate lawyer industry intact.

Posted by: Supremacy Claus | Apr 23, 2015 9:02:41 AM

The seriousness is granted but darn if this sounds like an episode of the A-Team or Macgyver or something.

Posted by: Joe | Apr 23, 2015 10:04:24 AM

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