Prosecutor: Suspect Confessed in Prison Drone Case




A prosecutor says a Maryland man confessed to participating in a prison smuggling ring that used a drone to fly contraband into a maximum-security state prison.

Assistant State’s Attorney Erich Bean gave his opening statement Thursday in the trial of 25-year-old Thaddeus Shortz of Knoxville.

Shortz faces 35 counts in what police say was a scheme to send prescription narcotics, synthetic marijuana, tobacco and pornographic videos into the Western Correctional Institution near Cumberland last August.

Defense attorney Robin Ficker told The Associated Press that Shortz was doing nothing illegal when he and another man were arrested near the prison. A drone and the packaged materials were found in Shortz’ pickup truck.

Ficker reserved his opening statement for later in the trial.

An inmate is also charged in the case.