drone and suspected contraband found outside prison

This small drone carrying a cellphone, three SIM cards and suspected drugs was found outside the prison last month.

Authorities are investigating the recovery of a small aerial drone carrying a cellphone and suspected drugs that was found outside the Buckingham Correctional Center last month.

According to the Virginia Department of Corrections, a member of the security staff at the prison discovered the drone on the side of the road outside the prison with a package attached to it. The package contained a cellphone, three SIM cards and suspected drugs.

The male prison of roughly 1,100 inmates is located in Dillwyn in Buckingham County and has large open areas, including recreation areas, surrounded by security fencing. The concern is that someone was attempting to get contraband to an inmate by dropping it on the prison grounds.

Corinne Geller, spokeswoman for the Virginia State Police, said Wednesday that the matter remains under investigation and there has not yet been an arrest. The suspected drugs have been sent to a laboratory for testing, she said.

The incident follows one in January at the Bland Correctional Center in which an officer spotted a drone flying over part of the compound but outside the secured perimeter.

A search of the area where the drone was seen turned up a small bag containing a brown substance, and the prison staff contacted the Bland County Sheriff’s Office.

The Department of Corrections said there have been 32 reports of drones or suspected drones flying near or over prisons from Dec. 31, 2017, to Wednesday. In January 2016, a prison in Powhatan County was placed on lockdown for two weeks in part because of a drone overflight.

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