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3 Indicted In Drone Contraband Plot At Md. Correctional Facility

BALTIMORE (WJZ)--A grand jury hands down indictments of three men plotting to use a drone to fly contraband inside a Maryland prison last month.

WJZ's Derek Valcourt has new details just released in the case.

It's an ordinary drone you can buy online or in the store, but police say these two men were going to use it to bring contraband inside the walls of the western correctional institution in Cresaptown, which is close to Cumberland in Allegaheny County.

"Contraband fuels violence and we are committed to keeping it out for the safety of our staff and inmates," said Maryland Corrections Secretary Stephen Moyer.

The drone discovery came on August 22nd, that's when police found 25-year-old Thaddeus Shortz and 29-year-old Keith Russell parked along a road near the prison.

Police say the men planned to load up this drone with  tobacco and the synthetic marijuana drug called "spice", along with DVD pornography, then fly it over prison fences and into the prison yard where it would be collected by another inmate, 43-year-old Charles Westley Brooks who is serving a life sentence.

Police also seized a handgun along with the drone.

It's the first time in Maryland someone's been caught trying to use a drone to smuggle contraband, but prison officials think it's happened before.

Prison officials say they're studying ways to detect drones and protect airspace around prison yards but say the cost could be sky-high.

They suspects are all facing long lists of criminal charges with the possibility of decades behind bars.

A trial for the first of the three suspects has been set for January of next year.

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