Two Men are Arrested w/ a Drone, Tobacco, “Spice”, Porn and Rx Pills outside of a Maryland Maximum Security Prison
A Yuneec Typhoon model drone (pictured below), which has a cargo capacity of six to eight (6 – 8) ounces, was seized from a vehicle near the Western Correctional Institution, a nearly 1,700-bed maximum security prison at Cumberland, MD, which is in the Appalachian Mountains about 120 miles west of Baltimore.
Two men, 25 y/o Thaddeus Casimir Shortz and 29 y/o Keith Brian Russell (both of whom have served prison time themselves) were taken into custody just outside of the prison, with the drone and a smorgasbord of contraband which authorities have accused the men of intending to “drone drop” pursuant to a conspiracy with inmates. Among the items found in six (6) plastic wrapped packages were tobacco, synthetic marijuana (a/k/a “Spice”), rolling papers, prescription narcotics (buprenorphine – a “semisynthetic opioid) and pornographic DVDs. A pistol and ammo were also seized, but authorities say that the drone in question was not powerful enough to hoist the pistol and ammo together with the other contraband (which the drone could have carried and dropped).
Per Stephen T. Moyer, Secretary of the Maryland Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services: “Larger drones exist that could carry a gun. That’s my biggest fear. The use of these drones to bring this type of contraband into a facility is very, very troubling, and we’re going to address it.” (A video of Secretary Moyer’s press conference – where the contraband was opened and displayed – can be watched by clicking here.)
These arrests highlight the growing problem for prison operators nationwide as they struggle to get ahead of the mini-helicopter technology (prison contraband smuggling attempts involving drones have occurred in South Carolina and Ohio – I authored a Blogpost about the Ohio drop earlier this month at Mansfield Correctional where a larger drone actually dropped 144 grams of tobacco, 65.4 grams of marijuana and 6.6 grams of heroin… you can read my August 7th, 2015 Blogpost by clicking here). Secretary Moyer said that he will ask the General Assembly to fund the installation of drone-detection technology at state prisons. He said the radar-like technology would cost $350,000 to $400,000 for each of the department’s 27 institutions, a potential total cost of $9.5 to $10.8 million.
Memo to the Folks: Per reports this case was “made” on information provided by a confidential source (likely an inmate but maybe someone on the outside who wanted Shortz, Russell or both off the streets) which allowed authorities, who were expecting the “drone drop”, to set up surveillance and make the arrest in a timely fashion, going to show, once again, that when you plan bad things, bad things happen, sometimes to the planner. Memo to Thaddeus Casimir Shortz and Keith Brian Russell:
When it comes to the subject of “Cops, Courts and Constitutions” you should always have a skilled and experienced criminal defense attorney who is focused on serving your interests. While we can’t stop the cops from arresting you, as your legal counsel Michael A. Haber, PA will ensure that your rights are respected from the moment that representation begins and that any abuses which may have occurred beforehand are remedied.
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