Drones are being put to use in all kinds of new and innovative areas. Whether it's Amazon experimenting with delivery drones, or drones being used to check for damage to rail systems and aircraft, unmanned aircraft are transforming all areas of life. Even, it would seem, the criminal underworld.
The wreckage of a drone has been found outside of a maximum security prison in South Carolina, in a novel attempt to smuggle phones, cannabis and tobacco into the tightly-guarded prison.
Officials believe it was the first time an unmanned aircraft has been used in an effort to breach prison walls. Criminals usually attempt to throw phones and other contraband over the walls of prisons, at designated drop zones.
The event occurred outside Lee Correctional Institution in Bishopville, the largest of nine maximum-security prisons for men in the South Carolina state system.
"The technology is getting better, and we have to figure out different ways to fight back," said a spokesperson for the South Carolina Department of Corrections.
Police have taken one man into custody and are seeking another suspect. Brenton Lee Doyle, 28, appeared in court on Wednesday for a hearing. He faces charges of "attempting to introduce contraband into a prison" and "possession of the drug flunitrazopam", a muscle relaxant commonly known as "roofies."
His case was postponed until September. Doyle maintains that he has never seen a drone in his life.
Lee Correctional Institution has suffered from law and order trouble in the past, and is known as the US state's most dangerous facility. Between April 2012 and February 2013, inmates took over portions of the prison twice; in the four years prior to September 2012, the facility was the scene of three hostage situations and four uncontrolled fights.