Drone pilot who smuggled drugs and mobile phones into 11 prisons jailed

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Seized footage shows how a drone was used to smuggle mobile phones into prison, as Sajad Hashimi hovered his device over the grounds at night.

This video captures one of many illegal drops made by Sajad Hashimi as he smuggled drugs and mobile phones into prisons. With the help of his wife Zerka Maranay, he made more than 100 drone drops into 11 jails and young offenders’ institutions, between August 2022 and October 2023.

Footage from one smuggling operation shows a drone hovering over a prison at night while lowering mobile phones on a fishing line. At least 72 of the drone drops took place at HMP Onley in Rugby, Warks., over 39 dates. A court heard Maranay used her bank account to launder nearly £50,000, which her husband had been paid for piloting the drones.

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The couple, of Camden, London, were arrested last October after police launched an investigation following a spike in drone drops at HMP Onley. Hashimi’s crimes were discovered after he crashed his drone in the grounds of HMP Highpoint in Suffolk on July 4, 2023.

Fishing line and hooks had been attached to the drone with a package containing heroin, steroids, chargers, tobacco, SIM cards and mobile phones, worth £19,500. Data from the crashed drone confirmed it had been responsible for 62 flights on 34 dates and seven different prison sites between January 3 and June 3 last year.

On Monday (29/4) Hashmini was jailed for a total of six years at Northampton Crown Court while Maranay was sentenced to 15 months. Detective Inspector Carrie Powers, of Northamptonshire Police SOCT, said: “This has been a very complex, detailed investigation and the largest of its kind for our force, and I would like to express my personal thanks to the team for their hard work.”

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