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RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — It’s now a crime in North Carolina to fly a drone near prisons and jails.

The Charlotte Observer reports a new law prohibits anyone but law enforcement officials from flying drones within 250 feet above or 500 feet around prisons and jails.

Gov. Roy Cooper signed the law Tuesday.

Using a drone to deliver weapons or other contraband can result in felony charge.

People who just fly drones near prisons can face a misdemeanor. Officials say drones have twice crashed within prison fences in North Carolina.

In both cases, prison staff members recovered the drones’ contraband before it reached prisoners. South Carolina prison leaders say they know of five cases in which drones have dropped contraband.

In June, an inmate used tools dropped by a drone to escape from Lieber Correctional Institution in Ridgeville.


Information from: The Charlotte Observer, http://www.charlotteobserver.com

(Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)


Comment on this Story

  • Steve Mann

    WHAT? It’s not already illegal to deliver contraband into prisons?

    If it’s already illegal, then why do you need a new law just because of the method used? Is it to fuel your fear of personal drones? Is it to justify your irrational paranoia over drones? Why would any person with a touch of common sense think that a new law is required?

    Then there is:
    49 USC § 40103 – Sovereignty and use of airspace
    (a) Sovereignty and Public Right of Transit.—
    (1) The United States Government has exclusive sovereignty of airspace of the United States.

    Only the FAA may regulate flight.
    Only the FAA may create a no-fly-zone

    • 58thStreetSurfer

      Why allow them to even get close enough? One quick dash and it’s too late? Drones or quadcopters, whatever you want to call them, have become a major aviation problem. Two weeks ago, fire-fighting planes out west had to be grounded because so many people were flying drones to take videos, they were a danger to the planes. It’s only a matter of time before a drone-strike brings down a plane.

    • Heimie Schmelter

      There is no need for any “new laws”r regarding drones OR getting contraband inside prison walls. As you stated, they are already in place and have been for many years. This is simply Ray Coopers method of fleecing the public into believing he’s actually getting something accomplished.
      Well, the truth is, he hasn’t, isn’t and won’t! His record is NIL for any 2017 accomplishments to date!

    • VoiceOfReason

      Steve – you make two excellent points here. While local and state officials have latitude to pass laws prohibiting contraband, aren’t those laws already on the books? The second point is even more relevant – since its the purview of the FAA to regulate airspace, how is this law even constitutional?

      I understand the intent – admirable. But is it necessary?

  • Heimie Schmelter

    “Laws” only work for honest people. Anyone taking the risk of dropping contraband from a drone to prison inmates likely isn’t honest and probably already has a criminal record. They don’t care about new laws.

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