Drones

Drone activity at Augusta Correctional Center in Craigsville causes lockdowns

Published 3:57 p.m. ET March 18, 2021 | Updated 8:13 p.m. ET March 18, 2021

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CRAIGSVILLE — Recent incidents of drones flying above Augusta Correctional Center in Craigsville prompted two lockdowns at the prison, according to the Virginia Department of Corrections.

The first incident took place March 11, the DOC said, when three drones were spotted above the prison grounds. The second sighting took place two days later on March 13, when three drones again appeared in the skies near the Craigsville prison.

Both events prompted authorities at the prison to enforce lockdowns, the DOC said.

No contraband was found.

Drone incidents at Virginia prisons are not a rare occurrence. According to the DOC, in 2019 there were 27 drones spotted near prisons in the state. Searches inside and outside of the prisons where the sightings took place did not reveal any contraband, except for one.

In August 2019, the DOC noted a drone was discovered near the prison grounds of Buckingham Correctional Center. An investigation by Virginia State Police found the drone was carrying a cell phone, three SIM cards and drugs.

In 2020, the DOC said drone incidents at the state’s prisons dipped dipped slightly with 22 reports. None of the drone incidents in 2019 or 2020 involved the Augusta Correctional Center.

“All were drone sightings except in two cases where drones were found on the ground inside the perimeter,” said DOC spokesperson Gregory Carter about the 2020 sightings. “In both cases, the drones were retrieved by staff and found carrying packages of contraband.”

So far this year, the DOC said there have been nine drone incidents involving state prisons, including the two incidents at Augusta Correctional Center.

“All were drone sightings except one in which a drone was found on the ground near a parking lot outside the perimeter,” Carter said. “The drone was carrying contraband.”

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Donovan Larsen

Donovan is a columnist and associate editor at the Dark News. He has written on everything from the politics to diversity issues in the workplace.

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