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Drones Used To Smuggle Drugs Into Prison 137

Daniel_Stuckey writes "Over the weekend, a 28-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of using a small quadcopter drone to smuggle an unknown quantity of illegal drugs into a prison in Melbourne, Australia. While it's certainly not the first time small-fry UAV technology has been used by a mid-level mule to airmail drugs into the clink, it does suggest a growing trend in the highest-tech of prison highs. Here, then, is a brief history of drone-assisted prison drug smuggling In November 2013, guards at Hull jail in Gatineau, Canada, spotted a small drone flying over the prison's walls [beware the autoplaying videos]. An exhaustive search of both Hull's grounds and the immediate vicinity turned up nothing by way of whatever contraband the drone might have been toting around.

Nevertheless, it didn't appear to be one-off incident 'This sort of thing happens often in prisons all across Quebec,' Stephane Lemaire, president of Quebec's correctional officers' union, told the Ottawa Sun. 'Usually the drones are carrying small packages of drugs or other illicit substances.' The problem, Lemaire added, is that 'the drone can be controlled from more than a kilometer away, and the [Hull] prison is surrounded by forest.'"
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Drones Used To Smuggle Drugs Into Prison

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  • by jcr ( 53032 ) <jcr.mac@com> on Tuesday March 11, 2014 @04:48AM (#46452959) Journal

    Then you just switch to internal navigation and let the drone go fully autonomous. A smuggler could launch the drone anywhere within the drone's flight range, from a moving vehicle, whatever.

    This is a race that the guards aren't going to win. Of course, it's not like anyone's ever been able to stop contraband getting into a prison anyway.


  • by nm03101 ( 1484827 ) on Tuesday March 11, 2014 @05:12AM (#46453007)
    Who needs to communicate with a drone once on its way? GPS waypoints - make sure it gets off the ground and go on your merry way. Let it land next to a school for some kid to experiment with later (or enjoy the show as it get chased down). $750 if you don't want to do DIY: []
  • by Nemosoft Unv. ( 16776 ) on Tuesday March 11, 2014 @06:18AM (#46453181)

    While what I am suggesting will be fun to read about; I am much more scared of the terroristic possibilities; [...]

    Congratulations, you have been properly brainwashed. Any type of technology can be used for both 'good' and 'bad'. A spear can be used to kill a wolf that attacks you, a mammoth for food and clothing, or your rival in the clan. Gunpowder can be used to build roads, conquer a fortress or send a bullet flying at the speed of sound. An airplane can be used to travel quickly to your vacation spot, bring relief goods to a disaster area or yes, crash into a building. Drones can be used to monitor nature parks, deliver packages or point a laser at a target for a bomb to strike.

    So there is no point in being scared; if people want to hurt you, they can. That's just part of living. However, I do agree that newer technologies are more insidious: with a spear you have to stand face to face with your opponent, but with a drone you can kill someone from a long distance without seeing him.

    And all this talk about terrorist-this, terrorist-that only got you into a mindset of fear, and that is exactly what a terrorist wants (and if you believe some, your government as well). It doesn't really help too that every little incident is blown out of proportion, even if it happened at the other side of the planet. Fear can be a very powerful weapon, one without buttons or triggers or even blood flowing; but it can also be defused easily. So it is time to overcome your fear and come out of your cave. Be careful, but not frightful.

  • Re:A solution (Score:5, Insightful)

    by hey! ( 33014 ) on Tuesday March 11, 2014 @08:18AM (#46453553) Homepage Journal

    There are over six million people in US prisons, only a small minority of which are in there for violent crimes. You're 8.5x more likely to go to prison for a non-violent drug offense such as possessing a trivial amount of drugs or even living in the same home as a drug dealer and being charged as an accessory. Your are 6x more likely to be in prison for a public order or "victimless" crime such as prostitution than a violent crime. You are 2.5x more likely to be in prison for a "weapons violation" in which nobody was hurt than you are for a violent crime.

    So why is it OK to be happy about the prospect of people in prison being killed in a fire?

    One solution to many of the technical, administrative and financial problems of running prisons would be to imprison fewer people. Canada imprisons less than 1/6 the fraction of its population than the US, and it's not a crime-ridden hell hole; Germany 1/9th and Denmark 1/10th the US incarceration rate. We could half our prison spending and spend the money on education (or give people a tax break if you prefer), and still have one of the highest incarceration rates in the world.

    Why do we have so many people in prisons? Well, putting people behind bars is good for a prosecutor's career, especially if he has political ambitions. Also in states with privatized prisons the taxpayers are financially penalized for having occupancy rates less than 95 or even 100%. Think about that. Your prisons are overcrowded, so you hire a politically contractor and build a virtual guarantee into the contract that prisons will remain overcrowded.

    Anyhow, a coarse net wouldn't rain fire down on prisoners. Stretch a piece nylon (very flammable) rope and try to ignite it by throwing burning stuff onto it. Even if it does catch it will only smolder. So net would be cheap and practical, which is precisely why it would never be used in the US: not enough profits to prison operators.

  • by DaMattster ( 977781 ) on Tuesday March 11, 2014 @08:35AM (#46453639)
    to the concept of the remote controlled plane or helicopter? Now, the marketers have got their dirty mitts on it and have to call in a drone! It's not a drone, it's simply a fucking remote controlled aircraft. I love hearing the kids ask for drones for a birthday present or whatever. This entire thing is not a NEW concept yet everyone is drooling and oooh aaaahing it like it's white shit hot. I hate to break it to you but this shit has been around for a very long time. In fact, many ham radio operators got their license so that they could fly model aircraft higher and at longer distances. I should know, I'm one of them.

It's fabulous! We haven't seen anything like it in the last half an hour! -- Macy's