Drone used to bring drugs, tobacco into B.C. prison
A drone is demonstrated in Brigham City, Utah in this Feb. 13, 2014, file photo. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)
Published Friday, January 12, 2018 12:18PM PST
A drone was used to drop a package of $26,500 worth of tobacco and drugs into a medium-security prison in B.C., officials say.
The package was seized last month after being dropped at Matsqui Institution, a federal prison located in Abbotsford.
Matsqui officials provided few details in a statement Friday, but said that the Correctional Service of Canada is heightening measures to prevent contraband from entering prisons.
Inmates are not permitted to deal or use illicit drugs, and smoking has been banned in all federal institutions for a decade.
Thorough search procedures are in place at all CSC facilities, and staff, visitors, volunteers and delivery people are all searched upon entry. Search techniques include metal detectors, drug-detecting scanners, X-rays and dogs.
Prisoners' cells are frequently searched, and offenders are tested for illegal substances regularly, CSC's website says.
It is a criminal offence to bring drugs, weapons and other contraband into a federal institution, and those suspected of smuggling something in can face testing, be denied the visit, or sentenced to jail time if convicted.
Drone deliveries are an issue at institutions around the world. In 2015, a heroin drop sparked a riot in a prison yard in Ohio, and a new correctional facility in Nova Scotia announced staff were looking at obtaining their own drones to detect those of would-be smugglers.
The BBC obtained footage in 2016 of a drone delivering drugs and cellphones to a facility in London, and last February, Quebec guards said they'd noticed a 15 per cent increase in the number of drones sightings near a jail in the capital.
CSC asks anyone with additional information relating to security issues of all kinds to contact its anonymous tipline at 1-866-780-3784.
"These activities may be related to drug use or trafficking that may threaten the safety and security of visitors, inmates and staff members working at CSC."
Matsqui Institution was originally opened in 1966 as a drug dependency treatment facility for male inmates. It was designated a medium-security site in 1981 and has a capacity of 446 inmates.