Drones Used to Smuggle Contraband into South Carolina Prisons: Man Sentenced to 10 Years

In a shocking case of high-tech smuggling, a Columbia man has been sentenced to 10 years in federal prison for flying drones loaded with drugs and other into two prisons. The South Carolina Department of Corrections (SCDC) reportedly worked tirelessly to apprehend the suspect, Brian Francis Williams Jr., who brought meth, crack, LSD, marijuana, and more into the McCormick Correctional Institution and Ridgeland Correctional Institution. This case highlights the growing challenge posed by drones and the determination of law enforcement to combat this modern form of criminal activity.

The Rise of Drone Smuggling

The use of drones to transport illegal substances and prohibited items into prisons has become a disturbing trend across the . The small size and maneuverability of drones make them an ideal tool for criminals to bypass security measures and deliver illicit goods directly to inmates. The SCDC has reported facing nightly attacks by drones, prompting officers to work diligently to arrest and prosecute these offenders.

SCDC Director Bryan Stirling expressed his gratitude to everyone involved in bringing this criminal to justice. In a statement, he said, “SCDC faces nightly attacks by drone, and our officers work very hard to arrest and prosecute these criminals.”

Williams' Criminal Activities

Brian Francis Williams Jr., 32, was caught on two separate occasions using drones to smuggle contraband into South Carolina prisons. In December 2022, Williams flew a drone filled with meth, crack, LSD, marijuana, and other prohibited substances into the McCormick Correctional Institution, resulting in his initial arrest.

Despite posting bail and wearing an ankle monitor, Williams managed to evade authorities once again. In March 2023, he was apprehended for flying a drone carrying fentanyl, meth, five pounds of marijuana, and additional contraband into the Ridgeland Correctional Institution.

The Legal Consequences

As a result of his actions, Williams has been sentenced to a total of 10 years in federal prison. The charges and sentences are as follows, according to the SCDC:

  1. Two counts of trafficking in methamphetamine/cocaine 28-100 grams: Williams received a 10-year sentence on each count, to run concurrently with each other.
  2. Attempting to furnish prisoners with contraband: He was sentenced to 10 years, suspended to three years of probation, to run consecutively.
  3. Possession of marijuana with intent to distribute: Williams received a five-year sentence, to run concurrently with the other sentences.

These strict penalties serve as a clear message that law enforcement and the judicial system take the issue of drone smuggling seriously.

The case of Brian Francis Williams Jr. sheds light on a dangerous and growing criminal trend: the use of drones to smuggle contraband into prisons. The SCDC, along with other law enforcement agencies, continues to face nightly attacks by these unmanned aerial vehicles. However, the arrest and subsequent sentencing of Williams demonstrate their determination to bring these criminals to justice.

As technology evolves, so too do the methods used by criminals. It is crucial for prisons and law enforcement agencies to stay ahead of these challenges. Stricter security measures, increased training, and technological countermeasures are necessary to combat the illicit activities associated with drones.

The story of Brian Francis Williams Jr. serves as a reminder that even in the face of advancing technology, the law will prevail, ensuring the safety and security of our prison system.

Image for illustration purposes only.

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Haye Kesteloo
Haye Kesteloo

Haye Kesteloo is the Editor in Chief and Founder of DroneXL.co, where he covers all drone-related news, DJI rumors and writes drone reviews, and EVXL.co, for all news related to electric vehicles. He is also a co-host of the PiXL Drone Show on YouTube and other podcast platforms. Haye can be reached at haye @ dronexl.co or @hayekesteloo.

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One comment

  1. And that’s another reason for the FAA or other’s too make harder rules for the people that really enjoys the hobby. It really pisses me off because I love to fly, and every year, it seems that more and more law’s are put into effect. Good news about this story is the person breaking the laws got caught, and dealt with.

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