Gang Accidentally Filmed Themselves Prepping Drone Drug Drop

By Keri Blakinger 10/15/18

During an attempt to smuggle drugs into prison, Scottish gang members managed to give police ample evidence to lock them up.

a person holding a drone

The Scottish gang members who accidentally filmed themselves loading up drugs on a prison-bound drone are now bound for prison themselves. 

Paul Reilly and Michael Martin were hit with nearly four years in the hoosegow following their ill-fated flight, according to The Scotsman.

The duo was aiming to send the drugs over the walls and into Perth Prison, where Martin’s brother was expecting to reel in the pills and pot, according to the New York Post.

But, while packing the narcotics onto the remote flyer, Martin accidentally turned on the drone’s camera and recorded more than 18 minutes of footage of him and his gang prepping the drug load.

“If there was an award for the movie with the most inept director,” prosecutor Michael Sweeney said, “then it would have been won by the accused.”

The footage showed both men—along with a third still-unidentified suspect—neatly packing Kinder Eggs full of drugs to send into the prison. Though the video even managed to show the gang’s house number, the criminal crew turned out to be better at filming than they were at flying, as the drone was eventually found crashed outside the prison yard.  

When they recovered the wrecked flyer, authorities found a micro SD card full of the incriminating evidence. 

“I don’t think they were aware the drone was actually filming at that time. I’m assuming he was looking at the drone to check if it was on, if it was functioning,” PC Nicholas Schembri said in court. “He was maybe making sure it was properly set-up. From the footage I viewed you could see clearly a tattoo on his neck.”

The crew tried to exercise some element of caution, covering their hands with gloves to shield their fingerprints and DNA from the drone—but that turned out to be a futile precaution.

That arrest came just months after authorities in the UK collared another set of gang members accused of making dozens of drone flights into prisons. In that case, it was an outdoor wildlife camera that tipped off police to the illicit flying operation and landed eight people behind bars. 

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Keri Blakinger is a former drug user and current reporter living in Texas. She covers breaking news for the Houston Chronicle and previously worked for the New York Daily News and the Ithaca Times. She has written about drugs and criminal justice for the Washington Post, Salon, Quartz and more. She loves dogs and is not impressed by rodeo food. Find Keri on LinkedIn and Twitter.