Surveillance Video Shows Drone Dropping Off Drugs, Cellphone at Ohio County Jail

Bill Pan
By Bill Pan
September 25, 2019US News
Surveillance Video Shows Drone Dropping Off Drugs, Cellphone at Ohio County Jail
A drone in the air. (Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

Ohio authorities released a video this week showing a county jail inmate retrieving a contraband package that was dropped off by a drone into the facility. The package contained a cell phone and marijuana, according to the county officials.

The incident was caught on jail surveillance cameras earlier this summer but just recently released to WEWS. County investigators told the Cleveland-based ABC affiliate that they are still trying to find out who is behind the smuggling.

The surveillance footage, recorded at 9 p.m. on June 21, shows several inmates playing cornhole inside an outdoor recreation area of the jail complex. At one moment, a male inmate looks up and spotted something that is out of the surveillance camera’s view. He then walks to the center of the fenced-off area and uses his orange jail-issued shirt as a catcher’s mitt as a black pouch falls from the sky. The man misses the catch and the pouch falls to the ground.

The inmate can be seen walking over to the pouch, picking it up and wrapping it in his shirt. He then casually walks out of view of the camera, while the other inmates go back to playing the game.

Cuyahoga County officials said the package contained a cell phone and marijuana, reported WEWS.

It is not the first time drugs and cellphones find their way into Cuyahoga County Jail. Last month, the facility had two of its corrections officers charged in a 30-count indictment for allegedly involved in a drug and cellphone smuggling ring, reported The Plain Dealer. The prosecutors said the two officers, Stephen Thomas and Marvella Sullivan, served as drug “couriers” for the inmates.

The drug ring also involved Lamar Speights, an inmate serving a 16-year prison sentence and member of the Heartless Felons, one of Cleveland’s most violent street gangs. He and inmate Brico Allen, who face multiple charges including in the 2016 fatal shooting of a 25-year-old man, directed Thomas and Sullivan to bring them drugs, cellphones, and other items into the jail, according to court records.

Just a few days before the drone drop, county jail officials said they found a hole dug into the wall of a jail cell on the eighth floor of the facility, reported WEWS. The sheriff’s office didn’t confirm if the hole was an attempt to smuggle the contraband into the downtown jail, but the investigation is still ongoing. Jail administrators did say, however, that they don’t believe the hole was an attempt to escape.

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