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breaking news

Inmate escapes from Tri-County Regional Jail in Champaign County

Remote-controlled helicopter smuggled goods into prison, sheriff says


A prison lieutenant says he caught four people from Atlanta flying contraband into a south Georgia prison.

Calhoun County Sheriff Josh Hilton said two men from Gwinnett County and two other people from DeKalb County traveled to a prison in southwest Georgia and used a remote-controlled helicopter to sneak tobacco to prisoners.

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A lieutenant from the Calhoun state prison noticed a small helicopter hovering over the gates, and a search of the area began, Hilton said. About an hour later, he said, deputies noticed a suspicious black car with Gwinnett County tags.

"After we gained consent to search the car, we found the helicopter and -- I don't know exactly how much it was, but probably about 1 to 2 pounds of tobacco rolled up," Hilton said.

Hilton says people try different things to get contraband to inmates, but the helicopter was something he had never heard of.

"It is a surprise. I've never seen a helicopter. They were in the woods flying it. They had binoculars, evidently, so they could watch it," Hilton said.

Investigators say the group made two drops before they were caught, but prison officials recovered those items.

All four suspects were arrested and later released on bond, Hilton said.

It is a felony to cross prison guard lines with contraband. If convicted, the four could face up to 20 years in prison.



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