Woman arrested for flying drone with Drugs into Australian Prison

Woman Arrested for Flying Drone with Drugs into Australian Prison

Australian Woman and Accomplices Plead Guilty to Using Drone to Traffic Drugs into Prison Yard.

An Australian woman and her two accomplices pleaded guilty in court to using a drone in an attempt to traffic multiple different drugs and a USB stick filled with pornography into a Queensland prison yard.

A Brisbane woman pleaded guilty Friday to charges stemming from an incident in Spring of last year when a drone containing drugs and pornography crash-landed into the recreation yard of a correctional facility in Queensland.

According to information originally disseminated by the Australian Associated Press, 27-year-old Cheyenne Anniki Petryszyn was on parole when a drone containing Buprenorphine strips, methamphetamine, and a USB thumb drive containing pornography was found in an exercise yard where it crash-landed.

Prison staff said they found the drone on April 1, 2022 at around 10:47 a.m. on the ground near a baggie containing 79 strips of Buprenorphine which is a drug used to treat opioid dependence, 0.94 grams of methamphetamine and the USB drive containing an undisclosed amount of pornographic material. A barcode on the drone was later tied to a purchase made by Petryszyn about a month prior to the incident in question. Petryszyn has since returned to prison to serve an 11-year sentence on an unrelated drug trafficking charge and was also charged with murder in another unrelated matter in October of 2022.

Petryszyn pleaded guilty in court Friday to two counts of aggravated supply of dangerous drugs in a correctional facility. She also had two accomplices, 33-year-old Cory Jay Sinclair Keleher, and 37-year old Bradley William Knudson who both pleaded guilty to the same charges, though Knudson only received one count. 

The article said the three conspired to have Petryszyn acquire the contraband and use information about the prison’s layout given to her by Keleher, who was released the very same day, to ensure the drone’s safe arrival on the other side of the prison walls. Knudson planned to distribute the drugs once they had made it inside the correctional facility. According to the article, it is not known who actually piloted the drone that day, but the cargo never made it to its intended recipient. 

“Officers monitored calls from nearby [cell blocks] and identified conversations between Knudson and Petryszyn making arrangements for the offending,” the crown prosecutor in the case said in court, detailing how code language about a fishing trip was used to plan the operation. 

Prosecutors said a phone conversation also took place after the drone was discovered during which Petryszyn said that “everything crashed and burned.”

The defense barrister (fancy word meaning “advocacy lawyer”) for Keleher asked Justice Wilson for leniency because their client struggled with substance abuse as well as a history of childhood abuse and mental health disorders.

“He is working on his drug addictions … he has turned a corner,” Defense Barrister Gavin Webber said. 

Defense Barrister Michael Connolly said on behalf of Knudson that his client had suffered through a traumatic childhood and had thus far been cooperative with the court.

“That shows he has remorse and recognises his behavior,” Connolly said, referring to his client’s offer to plead guilty months prior to the court proceedings.

Petryszyn’s defense barrister argued that it would be too harsh to add a “crushing” consecutive prison stint onto the 11-year-sentence Petryszyn was already serving and asked Justice Wilson to consider that laws requiring new sentences incurred while in prison to be served consecutively of one another be taken into account before sentencing.

Justice Wilson was reported to have recognized all the defendants’ respective requests for leniency given that Knudson and Keleher had made attempts at rehabilitation and Petryszyn was already serving a long sentence. All of this was taken into account during Justice Wilson’s deliberations, but she also made note that all three defendants had attempted to supply a large amount of drugs into a place where people were attempting to rehabilitate their lives and recover from drug and alcohol dependence.

Knudson was sentenced to two years’ imprisonment and Keleher and Petryszyn were sentenced to 16 months but all three were eligible for parole from Friday. The crown prosecutor in this case said the value of the drugs and contraband seized ranged as high as $119,000 given the extremely high prices drugs are able to command in prison settings.

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Region: Australia

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