Florida Women Accused Of Using Drone To Smuggle Tobacco, Cell Phones Into Prison

The drone ended up crashing into a motorist’s vehicle.

The drone ended up crashing into a motorist’s vehicle.

Many drones are used to snap creative photos from high up above, cover football games with a unique angle, and monitor crops for farmers. But one Florida mother and her daughter allegedly attempted to use a drone in a crazy way that ultimately ended up with them being arrested.

Cassandra Kerr, 40, and Concetta Didiano, 22, of Tampa were arrested after deputies accused them of using a drone to deliver mobile phones and tobacco to a prisoner housed at Martin Correctional Institution in Indiantown.

WPLG-TV reports that the staff at Martin Correctional Institution noticed the drone hovering above the prison building on a Sunday at approximately 1:30 a.m. According to the arrest report, prison staff alerted the Martin County Sheriff’s Department to the suspicious activity.

Not long after the drone was reported by prison staff, a deputy responded to a crash along a road not far from the prison. A vehicle had collided with the very same drone and ultimately disabled it.

Yet another deputy discovered the two women cruising along slowly in a black truck approximately one mile north of the prison. Martin Correctional Institution staffers alerted deputies to the suspicious vehicle, too. When a deputy pulled over Kerr and Didiano, Kerr informed the officer that she was teaching her daughter how to drive.

WPLG-TV reported that the deputy asked the women about the recent drone sighting. That’s when Kerr admitted that she was piloting it. She told deputies she had bought the drone on eBay and had practiced flying it a few times before she steered it toward the prison and dropped off the package for an inmate.

“I did it. The remote and the iPad is the backseat,” Kerr said, according to the report.

Kerr then told deputies that she was delivering mobile phones and tobacco to an inmate inside the prison, the report stated. Didiano had driven the truck while Kerr piloted the drone from the back seat, the report said.

Kerr and Didiano each were arrested on a charge of introducing a communication device into a correctional facility. Kerr also faces a charge of operating a drone inside a critical structure. Both women were transported to the Martin County Jail where Kerr eventually was released on $5,400 bail. Didiano was released after posting $750 bail.

Patrick Manderfield, press secretary for the Florida Department of Corrections, told the TC Palm that an incident involving a drone delivery to an inmate has only happened “a handful of times.”