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Drone Drops Drugs Onto Ohio Prison Yard 214

Okian Warrior sends a report from CNN about an incident last week at a prison in Mansfield, Ohio, where a brawl broke out after a drone dropped a package of drugs into the prison yard. Prison staff had no idea at the time what caused ~75 inmates to gather and fight, but surveillance tapes clearly showed a drone hovering over the yard and dropping a package that turned out to contain tobacco, marijuana, and heroin. A spokesperson for the prison said this was not the first time they've had an incident involving a drone, but they wouldn't go into specifics.
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Drone Drops Drugs Onto Ohio Prison Yard

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  • I wonder how long it will be before someone tries to fly a private drone into North Korea. No doubt they will try to shoot that sucker down, but this somehow made me think of that situation.

  • by __aaclcg7560 ( 824291 ) on Wednesday August 05, 2015 @11:49AM (#50256829)
    Must be a test run of Amazon's new delivery service. I hope that the home service delivers to the door and not drop packages willy-nilly in the yard.
    • In all fairness it was a very secure yard. OTOH it was already full of thieves, so swings and roundabouts...

    • No. If and when there's even a tiny manifestation of Amazon actually doing such deliveries, it's not going to be to residential front porches. It's going to be to things like pre-designated safe spots on the roof outside the mail room at a corporate office park, or into something interesting like a jump-chute funnel set up for the occasion next to loading docks or in back yards where a delivery rep has made a survey on behalf of very regular customers. People have this vision of powerful package carrying dr
  • by Anonymous Coward

    ...calling hobby kit remote controlled planes 'drones?'

    Please?

    • by TWX ( 665546 )
      RC Aircraft isn't as ominous sounding as Drone. So no, as long as the word brings ratings to the news stations they'll continue to use it.
    • At least not until you provide us with a significantly more useful term. Remember: it has to be monosyllabic, suggestive, memorable, and rhyme with "bourguignon".
    • by Spy Handler ( 822350 ) on Wednesday August 05, 2015 @12:25PM (#50257195) Homepage Journal

      Drones are to RC aircraft what dogs are to wolves. They are almost the same and have 99% identical DNA, but there are a few key characteristics that set them apart.

      First, drones require little to no flying skills on the part of the operator. Think RC helicopters from >10 years ago, very difficult to fly and maintain (especially piston-engine choppers, which you had to have if you wanted any kind of serious flying capability). You had to be an expert to not only fly one, but also build and service it. Nowadays you buy a quadcopter and it's ready to go, literally right out of the box with zero setup or adjustments. Modern electronics and gyros means you need no skill whatsoever to fly; just push the throttle and hold it and it hovers.

      Second, some drones have autonomous capability. With built-in GPS and advanced algorithms, they fly themselves. You punch in pre-programmed waypoints and the drone will fly there, loiter and drop a payload or take pictures or whatever, and fly back to you. It's not remote controlled anymore.

      Third, "drone" is easier to say than "RC model aircraft", which is a mouthful and requires explaining what RC stands for if you're writing a news article.

    • Can you please stop starting comments in the subject line?

      Anyway, how do you know that it wasn't a drone? A $250 plane, $50 battery and about $400 worth of assorted electronics including a Pixhawk autopilot module, a lidar, and an airspeed detector will get you 30+ minutes of flight time out of a fixed wing aircraft which can definitely carry and subsequently drop a cargo weighing a pound — and handle its own takeoff and landing. Is that enough like a drone for you? Remote telemetry costs more.

  • by XxtraLarGe ( 551297 ) on Wednesday August 05, 2015 @11:56AM (#50256905) Journal
    They can't even keep drugs out of the prisons WITHOUT drone delivery. The entire war on drugs has cost the U.S. untold billions of dollars and what do we have to show for it? We'd be much better off as a country if everything was legalized and the money currently spent on drug war law enforcement/court system/prison system was spent on drug rehab for those who actually developed a problem.
    • Couldn't agree more.

      As alcohol has proven, most people use drugs responsibly because there are social and economic pressures to do so.

      Legalize drugs, make a huge revenue stream on taxation of said drugs and now you don't have an entire army to employ and equip and you put the people you are currently fighting against out of business.... It really seems like a no-brainer

      • by Ichijo ( 607641 )

        As alcohol has proven, most people use drugs responsibly because there are social and economic pressures to do so.

        Except when cities encourage irresponsible alcohol use [grist.org].

        • I live on a residential block behind a few bars. If they had less parking, there would be more people parking in our neighborhood. We got the city to create a residential parking zone, with towing for non-residents, but it's only for one block; drunks could just park deeper into the neighborhood and walk a little further. And the thing about drunks walking home at 1 AM from a bar is that they are obnoxiously loud, like to urinate on whatever they happen to be near, and occasionally toss a brick through a

          • by Ichijo ( 607641 )

            If you wanted to open a bar in a city that doesn't stupidly allow people to store their personal property on taxpayer-owned land for free, wouldn't you be more inclined to either build abundant parking for your customers without the city forcing you to, or locate your bar near good transit options? See, both options eliminate customers parking in residential neighborhoods.

            So it appears that in this case, government is not the solution to our problem; government is the problem.

          • by Lumpy ( 12016 )

            Or how about cops get off their asses and do their jobs and hang around the parking lot. Spot drunkard dave walking to his car, stop him.

            Take away their cars and guns and force them to be civil servants they took an oath to be. So few cops get killed in the line of duty each year there is NO reason for them to be armed at all times.

            • Take away their cars and guns and force them to be civil servants they took an oath to be. So few cops get killed in the line of duty each year there is NO reason for them to be armed at all times.

              I don't think the problem is the guns, I think the problem is the mentality, and hiring people with that mentality on purpose. And that mentality is that "civilians" (like the cops are, though they think otherwise) are a lower form of life.

          • by mjwx ( 966435 )

            I live on a residential block behind a few bars. If they had less parking, there would be more people parking in our neighborhood. We got the city to create a residential parking zone, with towing for non-residents, but it's only for one block; drunks could just park deeper into the neighborhood and walk a little further. And the thing about drunks walking home at 1 AM from a bar is that they are obnoxiously loud, like to urinate on whatever they happen to be near, and occasionally toss a brick through a car window just for grins.

            So no thanks, I'd rather have mandatory parking on site. If you want to stop drunks from driving, catch them as they pull out of the parking lot. Or build cities to better support public transportation, and have that transportation run late enough into the night to service the evening crowd. Or legalize Uber and let their drivers///suckers deal with puke in their cars.

            You can do what Australia does, give every police officer a breathalyser and training on how to use it. If you blow over the limit you have the option of accepting the punishment or requesting a blood test that will be more accurate.

            High range drink driving is so rare over here that anyone blowing 0.10 or over (twice the legal limit) is national news.

            Also make the punishment fit the crime. Not just fines, revoke their license or impound their car if they keep driving on a suspended license.

            As for

        • by Zargg ( 1596625 )

          Has it not occurred to you that people can go to a bar and drink, and upon leaving, still be under the legal limit?

      • by ai4px ( 1244212 ) on Wednesday August 05, 2015 @12:45PM (#50257357)
        except when the taxing authorities get too greedy! Taxes on cigarettes in NY cause people to smuggle them in, and in the case of one man selling singles, the cost was his life. Making a coveted thing legal is great and I wholeheartedly agree. Thinking you can tax it at a high rate is really no different than making it illegal... the result is a black market.
        • Colorado has $100M+ in tax revenue from pot. Not much of a black market either.

          • Colorado has $100M+ in tax revenue from pot. Not much of a black market either.

            There's a tipping point. It's not that you can't have any taxes, it's just that you can't tax too much. However, I think if pot was legal, and I wanted to smoke it, I'd probably just grow my own. I have a bad enough memory as it is though, so i just avoid it.

    • I agree for the most part; maybe not quite so much where the really hard stuff like heroin is concerned, and their addiction has led them to commit violent crimes. The war on weed is certainly stupid, as are the ridiculous restrictions on sudafed because of meth cookers.
      • I agree for the most part; maybe not quite so much where the really hard stuff like heroin is concerned, and their addiction has led them to commit violent crimes.

        That's not how it works. These drugs are cheap as hell to produce, that's why there's so amazingly much profit in selling them. Prohibition, yeah, but if they were expensive to make then the economics still wouldn't work out. The crime comes from junkies who can't get their fix... you can see where this is going.

        The war on weed is certainly stupid, as are the ridiculous restrictions on sudafed because of meth cookers.

        Now meth, that's a get-up-and-do-things drug. That's genuinely harmful to society. Sure, some people just get up and clean their bathroom. And some people go out and look for fun, in a condition in

        • Now meth, that's a get-up-and-do-things drug. That's genuinely harmful to society. Sure, some people just get up and clean their bathroom. And some people go out and look for fun, in a condition in which their judgement is severely impaired.

          Meth used to be perfectly legal to buy and wasn't anywhere near the problem it is now. Just as with alcohol, and even "crack" cocaine, when you outlaw something, the potency tends to go up and the purity gets compromised because they cut it with whatever garbage they feel like adding.

          • If you could alter meth to be less of a "keep you up for days" thing, the judgment would be a lot less impaired. The impairment comes from lack of sleep and the hallucinations that brings.

            Tone down the super amphetamine aspect but leave the enhanced sexual pleasure aspect and you have yourself a real drug there...

          • Meth used to be perfectly legal to buy and wasn't anywhere near the problem it is now.

            But then we started administering it to combat troops, who came home hooked on it. And they proceeded to get their friends and lovers hooked on it.

        • by ihtoit ( 3393327 )

          antihistamines??

          I can buy loratidine over the counter - in fact my local supermarket has it next to the tampons and bandages.

      • Actually, you still see benefits when decriminalizing harder drugs as Portugal has done [tdpf.org.uk].

        It would be far better to spend the massive amounts of money it takes to house non-violent drug offenders in prisons on rehabilitating them in environments where it is cheaper to do so and won't make them want more drugs. Additionally, legalizing these drugs means that they generate taxable revenue which can be spent on rehabilitation programs and reduce the amount of money that needs to be spent on drug enforcement a
      • by swb ( 14022 )

        maybe not quite so much where the really hard stuff like heroin is concerned,

        The problem with that is that from a pharmacology perspective, opiates aren't even as dangerous as alcohol. You can be on a maintenance dose of opiates for the rest of your life -- it's actually the preferred treatment for addiction via methadone or buprenorphine maintenance.

        The problem with opiate use usually involves IV injection and addiction to the "rush" that comes after injection and the need to consume increasing amounts

      • by fafalone ( 633739 ) on Wednesday August 05, 2015 @03:38PM (#50258773)
        It's sad the people still have this breakdown in logic and their emotions overwhelm them when it comes to "seriously dangerous" drugs like heroin or crack. Just what part of the problem with these drugs do you think is ameliorated by prohibition? If anything, it's even more critical that these drugs are legalized:
        -Cocaine and heroin represent the vast majority of global organized crime and related violence. The exact same points about never stopping other substances apply even harder here. Doesn't matter how "bad" the drugs are, you're never ever going to stop global organized crime from reaping billions upon billions of dollars through prohibition.
        -Locally, it's these drugs that are responsible for the large majority of secondary crimes against non-involved parties, such as robbery and property crimes, to fund addictions. People aren't robbing and stealing for their pot or MDMA habits, which I assume aren't "really" hard by your standards. These crimes aren't committed because of the drugs inherent biological response pattern in an addict (unlike alcohol, which DOES make violent behavior more likely), they're committed because prohibition results in a cost structure that puts maintaining a habit very difficult without wealth or crime. Alcohol and cigarettes are cause dependence just as strong in an addict, and I guarantee if an addiction to those cost hundreds of dollars per day, you'd see the exact same related violence.
        -Even when it comes to "really hard" drugs, there's simply no evidence that legalization would lead to increased addiction, because do you really think there's thousands and thousands of people just waiting to go out and get addicted to heroin if only it were available from a doctor or pharmacist? It's legal to possess all drugs in Portugal, and they have no such usage spike. When you redirect money towards education and treatment and provide an environment where there's no fear of arrest for admitting you're a user, usage rates actually drop.
        -With the financial and other aspects of acquisition, addicts are unable to hold jobs for a variety of reasons, and as heroin maintenance programs in other countries have shown, a steady cheap legal supply returns these people to functional, contributing members of society that can hold down jobs. And obviously there's health benefits associated with a legal pharmaceutical supply like OD prevention the most well known.
        -People like to talk about "the children"... what kind of world do you want for yours if they wind up experimenting? A felony where getting caught twice or violating probation requirements means a lifetime of stigma. Interacting with dangerous criminal gangs to get an unknown product. Prison. Stigma attached to getting help. There is ZERO evidence that if we just crack down harder we're suddenly going to win the war on drugs and heroin, meth, and coke will vanish from the world, so no matter how much you wish that were the case, you're stuck with the reality that drugs are everywhere and kids experiment. If my kids made that mistake, I'd want them to get a safe product from a medical professional and be provided with non-abstinence-based education and have stigma-free access to well funded help and not be labeled a criminal and tossed into a cage and branded for life if they get caught. What do you want for yours? "a drug free world" is NOT an option.
    • We'd be much better off for social policy reasons, maybe. We'd be slightly better off for economic reasons, but only slightly.
    • by ADRA ( 37398 )

      Well, certainly laws against drug -users- are certainly ineffective and very much harmful in any form of rehbilitation or 'common good'. Even if they limited the crime to a slap on the wrist non-criminal fine, it would probably be sufficient to keep drugs out off the (literal) streets.

      As for dealers (carrying pounds of coke for instance), I'm all for locking them up the same as always. Its one thing to be supportive of those in the worst situations, and its another to carte-blanche welcome harmful drugs int

    • by Lumpy ( 12016 )

      The entire system is not for criminals it's for profit. Anyone thinks that a prison is keeping you safe is incredibly delusional.

      The really scary violent ones, put down, like the guy eating a bag of human ears at his trial... safe to put that one to death. The rest community service.

  • Is it possible to fashion an 'EMP gun' to at least direct the majority of the pulse at a target? Maybe just a jammer to interrupt either the GPS signal (or more likely) the remote control signal. Have to add it to the guard tower arsenals.
    • Hmmm... I hear sound waves are also effective against drones...

    • by ledow ( 319597 )

      Did you miss the bit where nobody noticed the drone until they checked the CCTV after the event?

    • Re:EMP (Score:4, Interesting)

      by jklovanc ( 1603149 ) on Wednesday August 05, 2015 @12:52PM (#50257403)

      Is it possible to fashion an 'EMP gun' to at least direct the majority of the pulse at a target?

      And then that pulse hits parts of the security system and it goes offline.

      Maybe just a jammer to interrupt either the GPS signal (or more likely) the remote control signal.

      It is against FCC rules to deploy radio wave jammers. The FCC won't even allow prisons to jam cell phones.

      • by Asgard ( 60200 )

        http://hacknmod.com/hack/diy-e... [hacknmod.com] would do it, and probably be highly dangerous to anything else along the beam -- such as a jetliner.

    • by Rich0 ( 548339 )

      Is it possible to fashion an 'EMP gun' to at least direct the majority of the pulse at a target? Maybe just a jammer to interrupt either the GPS signal (or more likely) the remote control signal. Have to add it to the guard tower arsenals.

      It actually is a lot harder than you think.

      EMP has to be REALLY powerful to do something like fry circuits, and you can imagine the havoc that could cause in general (that drone is far away, lots of other computers are a lot closer even if not being aimed at). I don't know how long-range you can even direct EMP generated using conventional means - the stuff that wipes out cities is basically a byproduct of a nuclear explosion (as far as I understand it this is basically just synchrotron radiation from ioni

      • by ihtoit ( 3393327 )

        a SMALL EMP pulse can be had by ramping an arc welder to the max and shorting it through a four inch bolt.

  • Obviously a wise policy because it's clearly working great.

  • Between drones and cell phones, we are going to have to start allowing prisons to jam radio frequencies around their immediate area to prevent this. The technology is too cheap and widespread to think that they can keep an eye out for drones and smuggled cell phones.
    • I guess the low-tech solution would be to just cover the open yards with some kind of mesh.

    • Jamming is not all that selective or containable. The FCC does not allow prisons to jam cell phones because it can effect cell phones outside of prison and interrupt emergency services. What do you think would happen if someone died half a mile from the prison because they could not contact 911?

    • by plover ( 150551 )

      Aside from the illegality of jamming radio frequencies, drones can be programmed to guide themselves to and from a destination without requiring an operator to fly them via real-time radio control. Jamming would be a very expensive solution that would be completely irrelevant before it was even deployed.

  • by kheldan ( 1460303 ) on Wednesday August 05, 2015 @12:39PM (#50257329) Journal
    Just like the Internet, they're a wonderful, innovative, imaginative idea originally developed by inspired, educated minds, created with the full intention of being something helpful to mankind.. and just like the Internet, are now being twisted and perverted into something to aid and abet acts of stupidity and criminal activity.

    I like these precise little drones, I think they're pretty damned cool, really, especially since I saw the earlier videos of whole fleets of them, flying in complex, dynamic, ever-changing formations, like some aerial court dance; it made me wonder what incredible things can we do with this? But then people had to get their hands on them, and do stupid things with them, and now criminal things with them. Now they're going to be on a downward slide towards being illegal for the average person to own, or at least so highly regulated that you may as well not bothers. Nice going, people, great job fucking up something cool for 99.99% of us yet again.
  • What a stupid idea to use a drone. you can EASILY use a trebuchet or other setup to lob them into the yard from a distance. hell you can set up a nice big slingshot to do it without attracting any attention.

    Unlike a slow moving device that is obvious as hell as it sounds like a large hive of angry bees.

  • I thought this sounded familiar.

    (not "Kill Chain" or "Twilight", I'm thinking the one where a drone bird (a toy, pretty much) was used to drop something into the yard of a Federal slam and McGee has a play with the retrieved vehicle, much to the amusement of DiNozzo).

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