Corban (Left) & Ross (Right). Photos courtesy of MDOC
An unsuccessful attempt to use a drone to sneak contraband into a Mississippi prison has landed two suspects behind bars.
After their drone got stuck in the security nets above the Central Mississippi Correctional Facility’s razor-wire fences, 33-year-old John Ross & 18-year-old Joshua Corban have been charged with conspiracy and attempting to smuggle contraband into a prison.
Ross & Corban were trying to smuggle two ounces of marijuana, a cellphone, phone chargers, headphones, and several cigarette lighters to their friends in prison.
The Rankin County Sheriff’s Office then used its own technology to trace the drone’s flight path and Ross, a parolee, and Corban were eventually identified as suspects.
“We’re bringing all of Mississippi Corrections into the world of 21st Century crime-fighting technology, and we’re doing it quickly,” MDOC Commissioner Burl 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.”
Lead investigator Glenn Dixon explained that MDOC officials were able to download data from the drone and were able to obtain an address in Vicksburg, where the drone had been frequently used, before cross-referencing the address with MDOC files.
MDOC’s Corrections Investigation Division coupled that with security video recorded at Mississippi Department of Public Safety Criminal Information Center (CIC) that showed Ross and Corban launching the drone. CIC is a hundred yards down the road from CMCF.
Commissioner Cain says the two suspects confessed and are now facing prison stints, if convicted.
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 on Tuesday.
MDOC Director of Investigations John Hunt says this is the third drone MDOC has intercepted at a Mississippi prison in recent years.
You can view the security footage, the seized contraband, and more here.