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Three men indicted in Drone Plot

September 22nd, 2015 by WCBC Radio

Three men have been indicted by an Allegany County Grand Jury in a plot to use a drone to fly drugs, tobacco and pornography into a Maryland correctional facility last month.
Thaddeus Casimir Shortz, 25, of Knoxville, and Keith Brian Russell, 29, of Silver Spring, face 39 felony and misdemeanor counts ranging from possession and intent to deliver drugs to possession of a firearm in a drug trafficking crime. The seven felony counts against the men each carry a penalty of five to 20 years in prison. They face at least three years in prison for each misdemeanor count and fines of up to $25,000 for each count.
Also indicted was Charles Westley Brooks, 43, an inmate at Western Correctional Institution (WCI) in Cumberland. Brooks is charged with 33 misdemeanor counts including possession with intent to deliver contraband, drug possession with intent to distribute and possession and receiving a telecommunications device. Brooks faces at least three years in prison for each count and fines of up to $25,000 for each count.
The incident occurred on August 22 when law enforcement officials found Shortz and Russell parked on a road near WCI. The men were setting up their operation when they were intercepted by an allied law enforcement agency effort that included WCI intelligence, the DPSCS Internal Investigative Division, Cumberland Combined Criminal Investigations and the Maryland State Police.
The vehicle contained one drone with a remote, multiple pornographic DVDs and large quantities of tobacco and the drug K2. A semi-automatic pistol was also recovered concealed in the vehicle. Shortz was apprehended without incident and Russell was captured after attempting to flee and hide in a nearby dumpster. Cell phones and walkie-talkies were recovered from both suspects. Larry. Hogan Governor; Boyd K. Rutherford, Lt. Governor; Stephen T. Moyer, Secretary The Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services Internal Investigative Division had obtained information on the involvement of Brooks, who is serving a life sentence for conspiracy to murder and was found in possession of a cell phone, tobacco and pornographic DVDs. The arrests were the first involving an attempt to use the mini-helicopter device to deliver contraband to a Maryland facility.
Shortz and Russell are former inmates. Both men served sentences for assault and are currently being held at the Allegany County Detention Center.
The cases will be prosecuted by Allegany County Assistant State’s Attorney Erich Bean. Russell is represented by attorney Steven Tully, Shortz by attorney Sean Gallagher, and Brooks by attorney Rebecca Freeland. Russell’s case has been scheduled for trial on January 7, 2016 in the Allegany County Circuit Court. Shortz and Brooks cases have not yet been scheduled.
Commenting on the indictments of the three men, Secretary Stephen T. Moyer said, “We are pleased with the joint investigation conducted by Allegany County C3I, the Maryland State Police and the Internal Investigative Division of the Department of Public Safety and Correctional Service to bring this case to the Grand Jury. As secretary I am committed to eliminating corruption and criminal activity in our correctional facilities throughout the state.”

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