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Drone breach at Michigan prison went undetected for 2 months

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LANSING, Mich. (AP) — A State Police report says a drone that sneaked contraband into a Michigan prison in May went undetected for nearly two months.

Michigan Department of Corrections spokesman Chris Gautz said video surveillance shows that inmates at Richard A. Handlon Correctional Facility received two packages dropped by a drone May 29. Prison officials suspect the packages contained cellphones that were found inside the prison in July.

The report, which was obtained by the Detroit News through a Freedom of Information Act request, said a third package containing phones, tobacco and marijuana was delivered that day, but prison officials recovered it.

“A source inside the prison informed MDOC staff that it was the result of an unsuccessful drone delivery,” according to the report by State Police Detective Sgt. Christian Clute. “It was later learned that two packages were successfully delivered (confirmed through video) to prisoners via drone. After the successful drone delivery, two phones were found inside the facility on prisoners.”

Clute said Friday he can’t reveal the names of the prisoners caught with the phones because the issue is still under investigation and the inmates in question haven’t been charged yet.

Gautz said the Corrections Department didn’t previously disclose the successful drone drops because they “don’t discuss all introductions of contraband.” He also said officials weren’t certain the confiscated phones were delivered by a drone.

The prison had two attempted drone drops Aug. 17. Prison officials apprehended the packages containing cellphones, razors and marijuana in those attempts. Patrick Corey Seaton Jr., Jonathan Larawn Roundtree and Daryl Steven Marshall face felony smuggling charges for those packages.

The drone drops come as security experts nationwide warn that drones pose a serious threat to prison security.

“We are very concerned about drones being used for smuggling, and we have implemented … certain detection and safety precautions so that hopefully in the future any drone delivery will be detected,” Clute said. He declined to reveal what the new security measures are.

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