Drones Are Delivering Drugs and Contraband Into California Prisons

Prison guards in Northern California have been concerned that Drones are being used to bring contraband into their prisons, and not they have proof it is happening.

There is no law banning drones flying over prisons, but Santa Clara County is worried about them making drug deliveries at the Elmwood Correctional Facility in Milpitas, reported KPIX 5.

About a month ago, a drone crashed inside the 62-acre jail perimeter carrying a package of meth.

Santa Clara County Supervisor Cindy Chavez wants the county to consider banning drone flights over the jail.

She is not anti-drone, but she said, “I’m anti methamphetamines being dropped into our jail. And I’m anti having knives and other weapons dropped into our jail.”


It takes very little time to modify a drone to carry items into the jail, and some drones can be controlled from miles away.

Chaves is realistic and knows that an ordinance will not stop everyone from using drones, especially considering there was no evidence until one crashed.

Mickey Osterreicher with National Press Photographer’s Association is one of the country’s leading authorities on drone laws. He says the FAA’s federal laws preempt any local ordinances.

Any ban that Santa Clara County passes would likely stand until someone challenged it in court. Osterreicher says the county could always modify an existing law, instead of writing one from scratch.

“I think if they look at whatever law they have against bringing contraband into a prison, I think they could probably modify those regulations somewhat, rather than create a technology specific one that specifically talks about the use of drones,” he says.


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