Mr Americana, Overpasses News Desk
November 8th, 2017
In what is certain is already a common, but unpublicized trend in prison across the United States is remote controlled drone deliveries inside the fence of the penitentiary. The problem is, these deliveries aren’t authorized.
One such example are the prisons in Northern California. That’s because people are trying to use drones to smuggle in drugs.
Currently, there is no law banning drones flying over prisons, but Santa Clara County is worried about them making drug deliveries at the Elmwood Correctional Facility in Milpitas.
Corrections officers were all but certain drones have been delivering contraband at the sprawling 62-acre complex for some time but it wasn’t until recently they finally got the proof they were looking for.
A month ago a small drone crashed inside the jail perimeter, reports KPIX. Investigators said they found a package of meth on board.
Santa Clara County Supervisor Cindy Chavez learned about the drug drop on a recent tour and now wants the county to look into banning drone flights over the jail. She’s says she’s not anti-drone.
“No,” she laughs. “I’m anti methamphetamines being dropped into our jail. And I’m anti having knives and other weapons dropped into our jail.”
KPIX 5 wanted to see just how easy it is to pull off something like that and found it is easy to modify a drown for contraband deliveries.
After watching a few YouTube videos and gathering up some basic materials, it took KPIX less than 10 minutes to prep some fake contraband for flight.
In no time the package was mounted onto Skydrone 5 and was flying at an altitude of 400 feet above the ground, going 20 mph.
Some models can be controlled from miles away.
Chaves doesn’t think an ordinance is will stop somebody who really wants to get drugs into the jail.
“I do not, but I do think that we can have procedures for addressing that, and that’s what we’re going to be asking the staff to take a look at,” she said.
Mickey Osterreicher with National Press Photographer’s Association is one of the country’s leading authorities on drone laws. He says the FAA’s federal laws preempt any local ordinances.
However, any ban that Santa Clara County passes would likely stand, until someone challenged it in court. Osterreicher says the county could always modify an existing law, instead of writing one from scratch.
“I think if they look at whatever law they have against bringing contraband into a prison, I think they could probably modify those regulations somewhat, rather than create a technology specific one that specifically talks about the use of drones,” he says.
Things sure have come a long way from someone sneaking up to the fence in the middle of the night and throwing contraband over…
How long can it be until inmates escape the confines of the prison yard with a drone large enough to carry a person?
Tell us what you think in comments below!
For other important news,CLICK HERE