Two men arrested near RDP prison after drone spotted by correctional officers
Two men were arrested early Monday morning after correctional officers at the Riviere-des-Prairies detention centre spotted a drone flying over the prison.
Montreal police set up a search perimeter around the prison and with the help of a canine unit arrested the two men, 42 and 38 years old, in a nearby wooded area, according to the Surete du Quebec.
They were found in possession of a drone and a package containing cellphones and charging cables.
The two individuals were released and the investigation has been transferred to the SQ major crimes division.
At this point the men have not been charged.
According to the correctional officers' union, the number of drones spotted near Quebec prisons has skyrocketed in recent years, with 90 being seen in 2016, up from just 15 the year before.
Guards have seized cell phones, sim cards, tobacco, marijuana, and other drugs from the drones.
A spokesperson for the SQ said that despite the increase, arrests in cases of drones being flown near prisons are rare.
"We need new investment and new equipment," he said.
Benoit Germain of drone commerce company Exo Drone said spotting drones is easy but tracking what they're carrying is much harder and that prisons may need a more high tech way of finding flying objects.
"Radar mixed with a high frequency camera and artificial intelligence," he said. "All that kind of stuff can be mixed together to be able to track the drone, track everything it will drop from the sky."
But criminologist Jean-Claude Bernheim said prisoners have historically had a way of staying one step ahead of the guards.
"The evolution for society is always when you find an obstacle, you try to find a solution for that," he said.