Corrective services officers have busted an alleged attempt to use a drone to smuggle contraband into Cessnock's maximum security jail.
Officers searched a vehicle near Shortland Correctional Centre on Sunday and seized a drone that had a line of string connecting it to a package containing 108 buprenorphine strips, 42 buprenorphine tablets and just under a gram of what is believed to be cannabis, as well as mobile phones and cash.
It came a day after prison officers seized a tennis ball filled with cannabis, tobacco and buprenorphine from a man near the same jail.
According to Corrective Services NSW, each strip of buprenorphine has a value of about $1000 inside prison walls.
Police have charged three people over Sunday's search - a 28-year-old woman from Bankstown, a 19-year-old Bonnyrigg man and a 22-year-old man from North Parramatta.
In relation to Saturday's incident involving the tennis ball, police have charged another man with seven counts including supplying a prohibited drug, possessing a prohibited drug, bringing a prohibited drug/plant into a place of detention, unlawfully bringing anything into a place of detention and entering inclosed land.
"Since visits were cancelled to correctional centres in March due to COVID-19, we've seen people increasingly using mail, drones and tennis balls in an attempt to smuggle drugs into our prisons," Corrective Services NSW commissioner Peter Severin said.
"The good work by our correctional centre staff and our SOG [security operations group] teams in searching for and detecting contraband should send a clear message to these people that we are alert and you will get caught.
"Our officers are proactive and undertake daily contraband searches of inmates, cells and common areas, with the assistance of the SOG. These searches also focus on inmate mail and prison perimeter fences."
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