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Crime

Vicksburg man attempted to use a drone to smuggle drugs and contraband into prison

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John Ross and Josh Corban (Photos courtesy RCSO)

A Vicksburg man is among two who used a drone in an attempt to smuggle drugs and other contraband into the Central Mississippi Correctional Facility in Pearl, Mississippi. Instead, they are both in jail as of Tuesday.

John Travis Ross, 33, of Vicksburg, and Joshua Ray Corban, 18, of Utica, and have been charged with conspiracy and attempting to smuggle contraband into a prison. They crashed their drone into security nets above the facility’s razor-wire fences.

In Ross’ case, he could be returning to prison. He has been on parole since October 2018 for sale of a controlled substance in Warren County. He and Corban made an initial appearance in Rankin County Court Tuesday.

Glen Dixon, an investigator with the Mississippi Department of Corrections, said fingerprints and data recovered from the drone led police to Vicksburg. The Rankin County Sheriff’s Office used its own technology to trace the drone’s flight path.

“We were able to download data from the drone and were able to obtain an address in Vicksburg, where the drone had been frequently used,” Dixon said in a release. “We cross referenced that address with our MDOC files.”

Among the items recovered were 2 ounces of marijuana buds, a cellphone, phone chargers, headphones and cigarette lighters.

The two suspects, who were caught on the prison’s security footage, confessed according to MDOC Commissioner Burl Cain.

“We’re bringing all of Mississippi Corrections into the world of 21st century crime-fighting technology, and we’re doing it quickly,” Cain said. “They tried to use the drone to help their friends—now it’s going to help us. We’re reprogramming their drone now to use at Parchman so it’s working for the law instead of against it.”

This is the third incident of a drone being used to smuggle items into a Mississippi prison in recent years.

View security footage, the drone’s payload and more here.

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