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Suspects arrested after using drone to smuggle drugs into prison

Eddie Codel

Three men are under arrest after dropping drugs and a cell phone via drone into the Richard Handlon Correctional Facility in Ionia.

Chris Gautz is with the Michigan Department of Corrections. He said corrections officers heard the drone early Thursday morning.

“So they began to follow the noise and they saw a drone approach and hover over the area near one of the housing units and drop a package.”

Guatz said initially the drone got away, but it returned a short time later.

“So at that point they kept a visual eye on the drone and contacted local law enforcement. The law enforcement as well as state police were able to find one individual near the facility as well as two individuals who they believed were manning the drone.”

Guatz said drones have become a greater problem for prisons.

“Drones present a new and present danger to correctional institutions because before if you were on the outside of the fence trying to introduce contraband your ability to do so was dependent on the strength of your arm. Now it’s dependent on how expensive the drone is that you purchased and what kind of range it has.”

Gautz said all three men were arrested and have been charged with smuggling weapons, drugs, and cellphones into a state prison. They could each face up to five years in prison.