Drone drops cellphones, drugs at Virginia private school

National

(Brunswick County Sheriff’s Office)

BRUNSWICK, Va. (WRIC) — Drugs were dropped from a drone yesterday on the property of Brunswick Academy, a private school in rural Brunswick County.

But the Brunswick County Sheriff’s Office says the package, which contained marijuana, tobacco and cellphones, was likely intended for the nearby Lawrenceville Correctional Center. It also weighed about five pounds.

Police believe the package was dropped on school grounds around 5:40 a.m. Monday. Shortly afterward, witnesses say individuals in a sedan grabbed the drone. Police responded to the incident after a school employee reported a suspicious package at 8:24 a.m.

Police say the Lawrenceville Correctional Facility has had issues with contraband in the past, including the involvement of staff members and other drone-related incidents.

items recovered
The package contained marijuana, tobacco and cellphones. (Brunswick County Sheriff’s Office)

“It’s like something you would see in Hollywood, like watching one of these sitcoms or one of these prison movies, and you see that and think ‘well, that’s not reality,” Brunswick County Sheriff Brian Roberts said.

He says just before 6 a.m. yesterday morning, a school bus driver made their first stop at Brunswick Academy.

“They [the bus driver] saw these green blinking lights coming in at a distance and something coming to the ground. He was not real sure what it was. Immediately this car comes flying in, passenger door comes open and they reach pick up this thing.”

It was a drone. Sheriff Roberts says when the bus driver returned after their route, their supervisor was called, and the package was later discovered. A dark-colored sedan is now in question.

Tonight, the private company that runs the jail responded. A spokesperson for the GEO group said in part “like many correctional facilities across the country Lawrenceville Correctional Center faces challenges related to the use of drones for the introduction of contraband in a correctional setting.”

And contraband at Lawrenceville has been an issue. Sheriff Roberts says at least four corrections officers were arrested this year alone for bringing drugs to the jail.

“Working with the administration of that place we’ve been arrested a lot of staff members for bringing in contraband, a lot,” Roberts said.

Sheriff Roberts says they’ll look at data on those two cellphones to try and find suspects. Anyone with information is asked to contact the Sheriff’s Office.

Correction: (Sept. 16, 2021) An earlier version of this story misspelled the Brunswick County Sheriff’s last name. It has been corrected.

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