For as long as there have been drug markets in prisons, smugglers have had a common enemy: those pesky prison walls. One entrepreneurial narcotics supplier found a go-around and tried to fly a package full of heroin, marijuana and tobacco into an Ohio prison via a drone on Wednesday, but ultimately just started a fight between prisoners.
When the drone dropped the package into recreation yards, nine prisoners began fighting over the prize. After diffusing the fight with pepper spray, guards quarantined all prisoners, numbering more than 200 prisoners, in two recreation yards where they believed the package might. The prisoners were then searched until the guards found the contraband. The nine fighters were put in solitary confinement, according to the Mansfield News Journal.
Guards found 6.6 grams of heroin, 65.4 grams of marijuana and 144 grams of tobacco in the package dropped by the drone.
Video footage later showed the drone flying up and over the recreation yard in the immediate moments before the fight broke out. An inmate in a north recreation yard grabbed the package and later threw it over a fence to another inmate in a south recreation yard.
Prison officials have acknowledged that they are seeing an increase in the use of drones to smuggle drugs and other contraband into the prison from outside. The Ohio Highway Patrol has stepped up efforts to better police near fences and stop criminals from throwing packages with contraband to prisoners.
The unmanned, and small, aerial vehicles have been the subject of much debate in the country as governing agencies have struggled to grapple with how to classify and govern them.