Drones aren't only used to take amazing aerial photos. Apparently, they are also used for smuggling. In fact, Canadians are using drones to deliver packages to prisons and people are actually getting away with it. This type of smuggling has become such a problem that federal prisons are now installing a system to prevent these illegal air deliveries.
The Correctional Service of Canada has seen a number of cases recently involving drones illegally delivering packages into prisons. These packages are often filled with a number of illegal items including cellphones, drugs, and other contraband.
Canadian’s are actually getting away with it too, by flying the drones overtop of prison yards and dropping them near their specified target. It seems incredibly simple and that's why officials are now aiming to put a stop to it. In order to combat this, $6 million has been invested into creating a security system that will prevent drones from dropping illegal items.
Correctional Service Canada is concerned not only because these drones are delivering contraband, but they are also being used for surveillance. According to The Star, the service fears cameras could be mounted onto the store-bought drones for aerial surveillance. They are worried that this footage could be used to help inmates escape.
In order to eliminate things like this from happening, a pilot project will be running over the next four years. This project will work by creating a system that automatically detects and identifies drones that are approaching the jail's perimeter from a “great distance.”
It will also be able to detect “throw-overs” from people walking up to the perimeter fence and throwing things into the yards, which happens often.
Drones dropping items into prison yards has been a problem for quite some time. In April of this year, a drone carrying $86,000 worth of drugs and cellphones was seized at a maximum security prison in BC. The drugs included steroids, estrogen reducer tablets, amphetamines, heroin, and THC concentrate.
Even earlier, back in March of this year, two men were arrested for suspiciously flying a drone near an east-end Montreal jail. The men were found carrying a drone and a package containing at least one cell phone with a charger.
According to the Ottawa Citizen, Correctional Service Canada had 41 “drone incidents” at federal prisons between July 2013 and December 2016. In four of those cases, contraband was confirmed to have entered the facility.
This pilot project to tackle this problem will be in place in six different prisons across Canada including Mission in B.C., Stony Mountain in Manitoba, Cowansville and Donnacona in Quebec, Collins Bay in Ontario, and Dorchester in New Brunswick. Once the four years is complete, an analysis will be done to determine how it can be implemented in jails across Canada.