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Alleged contraband-drop-by-drone fails to fly at prison

Last published on 27 Jul 2020 in Media Statements

Corrective Services NSW officers have foiled an alleged attempt to use a drone to drop-off contraband into a maximum-security prison.

The officers from the CSNSW Security Operations Group (SOG) North acting on intelligence, stopped and searched a vehicle near Shortland Correctional Centre at Cessnock about 9.30am yesterday (Sunday 26 July).

A search of the vehicle located a number of items including a drone, which had a line of string attached to a package containing 108 buprenorphine strips, 42 buprenorphine tablets and 0.9g of ‘green vegetable matter’ believed to be cannabis. NSW Police were notified.

CSNSW Commissioner Peter Severin said the operation showed great work by the team at Cessnock in preventing illicit substances from getting into the prison system.

“Since visits were cancelled to correctional centres in March due to COVID-19, we’ve seen people increasingly using mail, drones and tennis balls in an attempt to smuggle drugs into our prisons,” Mr Severin said.

“The good work by our correctional centre staff and our SOG teams in searching for and detecting contraband should send a clear message to these people that we are alert and you will get caught.

“Our officers are proactive and undertake daily contraband searches of inmates, cells and common areas, with the assistance of the SOG. These searches also focus on inmate mail and prison perimeter fences.”

SOG North also prevented cannabis, tobacco and buprenorphine hidden in a tennis ball from allegedly entering Shortland Correctional Centre on Saturday 25 July.

Acting on intelligence, the SOG North officers were conducting surveillance in an area near the prison about 1pm when they noticed a man hiding behind a shrub and cut logs.

The man refused directions to remain on the ground and was arrested by SOG officers. The tennis ball loaded with contraband was found nearby. NSW Police were notified and the man was charged with drug offences.

Each strip or tablet of buprenorphine has a current prison value of around $1,000.

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