MANSFIELD – The package dropped by a drone at Mansfield Correctional Institution last week contained 144.5 grams of tobacco, 65.4 grams of marijuana, and 6.6 grams of heroin, according to JoEllen Smith, spokeswoman for the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction.
Last week, the News Journal reported a drone flew over MANCI but few details were released as to whether any contraband was dropped or found.
The incident occurred at 2:33 p.m. July 29 according to information the News Journal received Monday from the spokeswoman.
A drone may be remotely controlled or can fly autonomously through software-controlled flight plans in its embedded systems working in conjunction with GPS. Drones have most often been associated with the military but they are also used for search and rescue, surveillance, traffic monitoring, weather monitoring and firefighting, among other things.
More recently, the unmanned aircraft have come into consideration for a number of commercial applications. In late 2013, Amazon announced a plan to use drones for delivery.
Last year, the Mansfield post of the Ohio Highway Patrol stepped up efforts to watch and catch criminals in the act of throwing contraband over a prison fence.
According to the ODRC, on July 27 a fight broke out on the north recreation yard, and corrections officers Jade Wojciechowski and Melinda Hane called for assistance and gave orders for the inmates to stop fighting. Other inmates on both north and south recreation began running in the general direction of the fight. The officers then used pepper spray to control the fight and ordered all inmates to get on the ground. The inmates complied and remained on the ground as other staff responded.
All inmates (approximately 75 on north recreation and 130 on south recreation) were removed from the recreation yards to the gyms, where they were strip searched, run through the cell sensor, and clinic checked. The nine fighters were placed in solitary confinement status. There were no injuries to any staff or inmates, according to a report from ODRC.
Upon reviewing the cameras, it was determined that a drone passed over the recreation yards immediately before the fight began. Further investigation revealed the drone dropped off a package intended for an inmate. The package was picked up on the north recreation yard, setting off a fight. The package was then thrown over the fence to the south recreation yard, according to ODRC.
Smith could not confirm the incident was gang related.
The Mansfield patrol on Monday received a report of a drone flying in the vicinity of MANCI and Ohio 13 North by Cyclops Field. A dispatcher said the report could not be confirmed.