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Drone Drops Alleged Cocaine Package Onto São Paulo Prison Grounds

03/10/2014 02:41 pm ET | Updated Mar 10, 2014
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Smuggling contraband into prisons goes back just about as far as prisons themselves, but inmates found a 21st-century way in Brazil: Via drone.

According to local reports, a mini-helicopter drone dropped about a half pound (250 grams) of cocaine onto a local prison on the outskirts of São Paulo, Brazil last week. The facility, Centro de Detenção Provisória 1, sits just under 60 miles northeast of São Paulo in the town of São José dos Campos and currently detains 1,605 prisoners, according to Brazilian news source Globo.

The drone was seen hovering above prison grounds at about 10 a.m. on March 7. São Paulo's Secretary of Corrections said that once the drone dropped its cargo on the prison patio, inmates swarmed the package and prevented guards from reaching it, Brazilian newspaper Estadão reported. The guards had to conduct a cell-by-cell search to locate the bag of white powder, thought to be cocaine.

Once confiscated, the package was sent to a regional authority station. São Paulo's civil police are currently conducting an analysis to verify the type of drug and its origin. So far, no leads have been found, although Brazilian news sources suspect the involvement of local drug traffickers.

São Paulo newspaper Folha reported prisoner visitations were suspended Saturday until further notice. The wing of the prison where the package was found remains on temporary lockdown, though daily routines have otherwise resumed as usual.

Centro de Detenção Provisória 1 opened in 2002 and is one of 41 provisional detention centers operating within Brazil.

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