New technology has made it more difficult than ever to escape high-security prisons, but such advancements might have made it easier to sneak contraband into them.
Authorities in Australia say a 27-year-old woman has been arrested and subsequently pleaded guilty to using a drone to deliver more than $75,000 in opioids and a USB drive containing pornographic material into a Queensland correctional facility.
— New York Post (@nypost) September 22, 2023
Reports indicate the incident first came to light in April 2022 when prison guards discovered the crashed aircraft in the prison’s exercise yard. A bag filled with buprenorphine and methamphetamine was found nearby alongside the USB drive.
An investigation led to Cheyenne Petryszyn being identified as a suspect. She was reportedly on parole from a previous drug trafficking conviction at the time of the incident and has since been sentenced to prison for this crime as well as to finish out the term for which she had been paroled.
Two other defendants — 33-year-old Cory Sinclair Keleher and 37-year-old Bradley Knudson — also pleaded guilty to charges related to the crime.
Prosecutors say Petryszyn’s role in the conspiracy was to procure the drugs and deliver them so that Knudson could sell them to inmates inside the prison.
The two reportedly discussed details via phone, using coded language about fishing to hatch the plot. Following the botched delivery, Petryszyn reportedly told Knudson that “everything crashed and burned.”
When Knudson and Keleher appeared in court, their lawyers pleaded for a lenient sentence due to their troubled childhoods. Although the judge handed down sentences of two years and 16 months, respectively, they were both eligible for parole at the time of sentencing.
During Petryszyn’s sentencing hearing, her attorney similarly asked the judge to forgo a “crushing” punishment since she was already serving a long sentence for her previous conviction. The judge issued a 16-month sentence in her case, allowing for immediate parole.
Drones have been used to deliver contraband into prisons elsewhere across Australia and around the world.
Earlier this year, a man and woman in Melbourne were arrested in connection with a plot to send a milk carton filled with drugs and nicotine patches into a prison via an unmanned aircraft.