Michigan prison officials say three people have been arrested after trying to use a drone to smuggle a cellphone and drugs into a prison.
Michigan Department of Corrections says two guards at the Richard A. Handlon Correctional Facility in the western Michigan city of Ionia heard the drone in the prison yard shortly before 4 a.m. Thursday.
Moments later, the drone dropped a package near a housing unit.
Three people have been arrested, accused of trying to use a drone to drop a cell phone and drugs into the Richard A. Handlon Correctional Facility in Ionia, Michigan, pictured
The drone dropped some items off at one building, the returned to drop some more objects at another building. Three people in a car outside the perimeter walls were then arrested
The Corrections Department says that as officers responded to the scene, the drone dropped a second package.
Department spokesman Chris Gautz says local law enforcement officers detained three people in a vehicle near the prison about 110 miles northwest of Detroit.
Michigan State Police spokeswoman Shanon Banner says the three haven’t been charged yet.
Authorities haven’t released their names.
Department spokesman Chris Gautz said the type of drugs dropped has not yet been identified, though ‘one package did have a strong odor of marijuana.’
It’s one of the first occasions where suspects have been caught immediately after using a drone to float objects across a security fence
Officials ‘are reviewing our records and comparing them with evidence authorities received from those they arrested to determine which prisoner(s) were intended to receive’ the contraband, Gautz said.
This is one of the first occurrences in the nation where suspects have been immediately arrested by law enforcement after allegedly introducing contraband into a prison facility.
‘Drones present a serious and constant threat to our prisons across the state. Our staff remain vigilant in their efforts to keep dangerous contraband from entering our facilities in all manners,’ Michigan Department of Corrections Director Heidi Washington said.
‘I am proud of the prompt and professional response of our staff and for the support and coordination with local law enforcement and the Michigan State Police to apprehend these individuals. Together, their actions kept not only our facility, staff and prisoners safe, but the surrounding community as well.’
‘We will continue to work with our partners in the law enforcement community to ensure they have what they need to successfully prosecute these cases to the fullest extent of the law,’ Washington said. ‘We will also continue our efforts to aid lawmakers in their efforts to strengthen laws regarding drones and their ability to introduce dangerous contraband into our prisons.’