In an incident that highlights a larger trend of unmanned aircrafts infiltrating prison security, a drone released a package of drugs into the yard at the Mansfield Correctional Institution in Ohio in late July, leading to a brawl among inmates.
On July 29, around 100 inmates were outside at the complex in Mansfield when the drone dropped nearly a quarter of an ounce of heroin, more than 2 ounces of marijuana, and upwards of 5 ounces of tobacco into the prison yard, Department of Rehabilitation and Correction spokeswoman JoEllen Smith told local newspaper the Mansfield News Journal. The airborne delivery attempt subsequently sparked a clash involving nine inmates, none of whom were injured.
Video taken during the incident reportedly shows the drone hovering over the prison yard, reportedly with the purpose of delivering the drugs to one of the inmates at the correctional facility.
"The package was purportedly then thrown over the fence to the south recreation yard," a report on the incident states.
After a pair of correctional officers broke up the fight with pepper spray, authorities strip-searched and performed clinical checks on 75 inmates from the north side of the yard, and another 130 from the southern portion.
According to Smith, the Department of Rehabilitation and Correction is working to stem drone activity around prisons. Smith said there have there have been previous security threats from drones and effort is being made to boost detection capabilities.
The local Ohio Highway Patrol post also expanded activities last year for monitoring individuals tossing contraband into prison yards.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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