COLUMBIA, S.C. – Two men have been arrested after authorities say they tried to fly drones carrying contraband materials into a medium-security South Carolina prison, officials told The Associated Press on Wednesday.
According to documents provided to AP, the arrests came after an overnight chase involving the suspects and authorities outside Kershaw Correctional Institution, a men's prison that houses nearly 1,300 inmates.
Authorities said deputies found the men on property belonging to the prison in Lancaster County, about 73 miles (117 km) northeast of Columbia, at around 3 a.m. Wednesday. When authorities approached the men, they fled the scene and initially refused to stop.
When they were apprehended, Charles Everett Adams and Justin Marvin Canady were arrested on charges from the Department of Corrections of attempting to provide contraband materials to inmates and drug possession. The men also face felony marijuana distribution charges from Lancaster County.
When they were arrested, the men had drones with them, as well as packaged contraband materials including knives, marijuana and cellphones, according to authorities. It wasn't immediately clear if either man has an attorney.
The arrests mark the second case of its kind in South Carolina where individuals have been charged with trying to use a drone to smuggle contraband into a South Carolina prison. One man is serving a 15-year sentence after officials found a crashed drone outside a maximum-security prison in 2014.
Prisons officials for years have warned of the threat posed in prison by smuggled cellphones, which were included in both drone attempts. A measure making it illegal to fly a drone near a prison has passed the state Senate but stalled in the House.
"I would like to thank Sheriff Barry Faile and his deputies for their quick response and partnership," Corrections Director Bryan Stirling said in a statement provided to AP.