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Man who used drone for WCI prison deliveries convicted on 31 counts

April 12th, 2016 by WCBC Radio

The Office of the State’s Attorney for Allegany County, the Honorable Michael O. Twigg, State’s Attorney, announced on Tuesday, April 12, 2016, that Thaddeus Shortz, 25 of Knoxville, MD, was sentenced in the Allegany County Circuit Court, having been convicted of 31 offenses following a two day jury trial in January of this year, related to his attempt to use a flying drone to deliver contraband into the Western Correctional Institution.

The Honorable W. Timothy Finan, Administrative Judge for Circuit Court in Allegany County, sentenced Shortz to 13 years in the Maryland Department of Corrections.

In early August 2015, investigators with the Maryland Department of Public Safety and members of the C3I Narcotics Unit began investigating a suspected plot to fly contraband into the prison via a flying drone.  The investigation developed two suspects, Charles Brooks, an inmate within the facility, and Thaddeus Shortz, a former inmate.  In the evening hours of August 22, 2015, investigators set up surveillance on an access road that leads behind the prison.  They observed Shortz arrive in the area, along with a Keith Russell.  The two men exited a vehicle and acted suspiciously, at which time, investigators made contact with them.  Inside the vehicle, a flying drone was located, along with six individually wrapped packages containing a substantial quantity of Suboxone, Synthetic Marijuana, tobacco, a cellphone and pornographic DVDs.  There was also a handgun located within the vehicle.  The investigation also revealed recorded phone calls from the prison between Brooks and Shortz, discussing the conspiracy.

Brooks and Russell were previously convicted and sentenced for their roles in the plot, with Brooks receiving a 13 year sentence and Russell a five year sentence.

According to Allegany County Assistant State’s Attorney Erich Bean, who prosecuted the cases “Mr. Shortz is the person who, by his own admission, purchased the items, packaged them and successfully delivered similar items into the prison multiple times in this same manner before being caught.  He earned a substantial sum of money in this illegal business venture.  The State is satisfied with the outcome relating to all three men, and hope this will deter anyone else from trying to use this technology to commit crime.”

Shortz was represented by attorney Robin Ficker.


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