Drone Carrying Marijuana Into Prison Goes Haywire

Quadcopter drones are becoming fashionable prison smuggling tools.

Quadcopter drones are becoming fashionable prison smuggling tools.

Using a drone to smuggle contraband into prisons is becoming more popular among criminals. But they aren’t having much success. Case in point:

Police in Bishopville, South Carolina, are on the hunt for a man who allegedly used a drone to deliver marijuana and other contraband into a state prison. Law enforcement officials released convenience store surveillance video images showing the man they are looking for, hoping someone turns him in. They are offering $1,000 for information that leads to his arrest.

The cops already caught his alleged cohort, 28-year-old Brenton Lee Doyle, who appeared in court Wednesday for the first time on charges of attempting to smuggle contraband into a prison and possession of the drug flunitrazepam, also known as “roofies,” according to Reuters.

Doyle and his accomplice piloted a drone that crashed outside the Lee Correctional Institution back in April. The remote controlled aircraft never made it over the 12-foot fence, although according to the Associated Press, “officials aren’t sure exactly where the drone would have gone if it made it over the wall.”

Drone smuggling suspect

Drone smuggling suspect

The drone was carrying marijuana, cellphones and tobacco, according to Stephanie Givens, a spokeswoman for the S.C. Department of Corrections.

Contraband delivery service providers have not had much luck using drones. In June, a quadcopter crashed landed into an exercise yard in Wheatfield Prison in west Dublin, Ireland. An inmate managed to pull the drugs off the contraband drone before prison officers could retrieve it.

A digital memory card onboard the mini-helicopter recorded the exact route the device took and also shows the smugglers carried out a trial run before the failed attempt. In November 2013, four people were arrested for trying to deliver a bunch of tobacco into the state prison in Calhoun, Georgia, via a remote-controlled hexacopter.