3 arrested for attempting to smuggle drugs into prison with drone

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IONIA, Mich. — Three people are under arrest following a brazen attempt to smuggle drugs and a cell phone into an Ionia prison.

Around 4:00 a.m. Thursday two correctional officers at Richard A. Handlon Correctional Facility noticed the sound of a drone inside the yard of the prison.

They started to investigate and quickly spotted the airborne device.  While observing the drone, it dropped a package near a housing unit.

Those officers then notified other staff of what they saw.  The drone left the area, then returned and dropped another package near the officers.

The prison staffers notified local law enforcement, who also began responding to the area. A vehicle in the area was spotted and three individuals were found inside.  They are believed to have been responsible for flying the drone onto prison grounds.  All three people in the vehicle were detained.

Michigan Department of Corrections Director Heidi Washington said in a statement Thursday, “I am proud of the prompt and professional response of our staff and for the support and coordination with local law enforcement and the Michigan State Police to apprehend these individuals. Together, their actions kept not only our facility, staff and prisoners safe, but the surrounding community as well.”

Prison staff and troopers with the Michigan State Police conducted a search of the prison grounds after the incident to make sure nothing else had been dropped.

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