Santa Clara to Crack Down on Drug Drones Over County Jails
Drugs have always had an unfortunate presence in county jails. But drugs over jails? That’s a new one.
Prompted by some sketchy sightings and a crash landing, two county supervisors are pushing to restrict drone activity in the airspace above county jails to prevent airborne “drug drops” to inmates in open jail yards.
Supervisors Cindy Chavez and Mike Wasserman made the recommendation to the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday urging county staff to research local drone restrictions, inspired in part by a drone that temporarily grounded air-based firefighting efforts from the recent Bear Fire in the Santa Cruz Mountains.
“Increasingly, private drones have been used in attempts to smuggle contraband into county correctional facilities, particularly Elmwood,” reads a memo from Chavez and Wasserman. “To protect those who work at and are incarcerated in these facilities, the county should take steps to restrict private drone use at these facilities.”
One drug-carrying drone crashed into the Elmwood jail in Milpitas recently. Even as the board was meeting to discuss the issue, reports came in that another drone was spotted flying above the facility.
As the Mercury News notes, these buzzards of mayhem have already become a major problem in some other states where they’ve been caught smuggling everything from tobacco and marijuana to meth and heroin into correctional facilities. In 2015, a drone drop led to a prison riot in Mansfield, Ohio.