herald

Thursday 14 December 2017

Prisoners left like 'zombies' after drone drugs drop

DOZENS of prisoners have been left like "zombies" after consuming narcotics from a drone that crash-landed in Wheatfield Prison.

The Herald has learned that the majority of drugs which were on the €2,000 drone - known as a quadcopter - made it into the jail after it crashed into an exercise yard.

A package containing suspected drugs was attached by a rope to the four-bladed device as it hovered over the yard at the west Dublin prison.

While it was initially believed that prison officers had seized all the contraband, it has now emerged that a "sizeable amount" of drugs got into the jail.

Sources say that the highly sophisticated plot was organised by three different Dublin gangs in the prison who then distributed and took the drugs.

"Despite the main ring leader being put into solitary confinement for almost a week after this happened, a lot of the drugs got into the jail and the effects of it were fairly obvious.

"You had fellas going around the place like complete zombies for over a week - it was mostly prescription tablets but there was also a little bit of cannabis resin and heroin that got in," a source explained.

"At first, the authorities had thought that none of the drugs got in but in reality it is estimated that hundreds of euro worth of the stuff made its way into the jail," the source added.

The drama unfolded when the drone got caught on anti-helicopter wires - in place to prevent any airborne escape attempts - and crash-landed into the complex on Tuesday of last week at around 11am.

A number of prison staff noticed the commotion as the device crash landed and attempted to intercept the operation.

It is understood the group of inmates huddled around one prisoner - the suspected ringleader who is serving an eight-year sentence for robbery - and it was believed that he hid the package by pushing it inside himself.

He was put in solitary confinement under 24-hour watch for the contraband to be retrieved, but this did not happen after around five days.

BRAZEN

The drone was seized and has been handed over to the Gardaí who are carrying out their own investigation.

Sources say that it is "possible" that the ringleader of the brazen plot - a 33-year-old career criminal from Tallaght - will face charges in relation to the incident, which made international headlines.

The thug, who is a violent drug addict, was jailed for eight years in 2011 for a post office robbery during which a 
customer had a knife held to her neck while raiders demanded cash.

He was previously given a 10-year jail sentence for a bank robbery and has convictions for offences such as car theft, larceny and drug possession.

kfoy@herald.ie

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