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South Carolina prisons, the use of drones to combat contraband deliveries

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S. C. prisons the first to start a drone war with criminals

If smugglers using drones to deliver contraband behind prison walls, South Carolina prison officials are fighting fire with fire. The state of the high and medium security prisons are the use of drones to detect and alert the perimeter patrols of other remote controlled airplanes around penitentiary institutions

COLUMBIA, S. C. – in the Entire country, sophisticated drones have been used for the smuggling of drugs, weapons, mobile phones and even pornography in prisons.

Smugglers use of rope or metal wire to confirm cargo full of contraband to the bottom of a drone, that can be modified or adapted in order to decrease the burden with the hand-held remote control. The drones can fly up to a quarter of a mile distance by using GPS-coordinates with little to no detection.

This makes it nearly impossible for law enforcement to find the person controlling the devices.

“It is a clear message to people who want to deliver contraband or are up to-I’ll put up, or are on our premises, that there is a good chance that they are being watched and we will respond and act,” South Carolina Department of Corrections Director Bryan Stirling said.

(Fox News)

South Carolina has dealt with the problem more than other states in previous years. In 2017 more than 28 drone sightings were reported in the state, in some cases, caused the prisoners to escape or assault each other after they acquired mobile phones drone deliveries.

But now, in South Carolina, the prison officials are the implementation of the first drone program in the country to fight back against the worrying trend.

“We are attacked by drones, they have the supply of contraband in our institutions for the past few years,” said the South Carolina Department of Corrections Director Bryan Stirling.

Now, he said, they are using “the technology in our favor.”

“When you consider that Amazon can deliver packets to send, it is not a far leap to the imagination of a criminal could take everything literally any item of contraband and do exactly the same thing… you can pre-programmed, to set, to multiple drops in multiple precise locations.”

– CEO of Global Security Group David Katz

In April, mobile drone-detection equipment is installed in the condition of the prisons to detect small aircraft and alert the perimeter patrols. The drones are controlled by two pilots. The two former military members who guide the drones, who asked not unknown, travel with the equipment and of the 21 prisons in the country.

“It gives us a picture of our settings of up to 400 metres. We can see that the entire institution, and we see the perimeter,” Stirling said.

The drones, some of which have been seized from criminals and converted for use by the programs of the pilots, the use of infrared technology. This function helps in finding the contraband, such as mobile phones, weapons or drugs that the criminals have thrown over the fence, or dropped by drones in the night.

If a criminal’s remote-controlled aircraft is spotted by the state, the drones, the director said external institutions and penitentiary officials will respond, intervene, and carry out a research.

“In the past almost 20 years now, mobile phones have allowed these people who are locked up and the people on the outside to communicate and organize, and bring the contraband in, and also pay for it,” Stirling said. “So, that’s obviously a problem that we have tackled.”

Security and investigative experts say that as the technology evolves, so do criminals’ tactics.

“When you consider that Amazon can deliver packets to send, it is not a far leap to the imagination of a criminal could take everything literally any item of contraband and do exactly the same thing,” CEO of Global Security Group David Katz said. “So, in other words, you can pre-programmed, to set, to multiple drops in multiple precise locations.”

In July 2017, authorities said they believed a drone was used to deliver the wire cutters used by convicted criminal Jimmy Causey to escape from Lieber Correctional Institution in Ridgeville, S. C. He was held of more than 1200 km in Austin, Texas days later.

“We have almost a doubling of the number of cameras in the last three years, which we have installed in the section” Stirling said. “We are looking forward to another 250 or so, cameras and we are going to keep on adding cameras.”

(Fox News)

“But the great danger is, let’s say that you have…a high-security prison. Now take a larger drone, flip it right over the fence and drop – very dangerous objects: guns, ammunition, explosives or worse. That would be very, very easy to do with even a modest technological experience,” Katz said.

As another line of defense, the South Carolina Department of Corrections has set up a 24/7 surveillance operation center to monitor everything from the dormitories of the circumference of its institutions.

“We have almost a doubling of the number of cameras in the last three years, which we have installed in the section” Stirling said. “We are looking forward to another 250 or so, cameras and we are going to keep on adding cameras.”

Stirling says that with the new drone program and surveillance center, criminals will see if he is not to play.

“It is a clear message to people who want to deliver contraband or ill intent, or are the property of us,” Stirling said, “that there is a good chance that they are being watched and we will respond and act.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Terrace Garnier is a Fox News multimedia reporter based in Columbia, South Carolina. Follow her on twitter: @TeraceGarnier

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