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Prison guards in Béziers are calling for an anti-drone Jammer to combat drug trafficking

In 2022, 15 kilos of drugs and 189 mobile phones were seized at Béziers prison, all intercepted by staff after drone deliveries. The UFAP union is advocating for a jammer to halt this illicit activity.

A growing concern for Béziers prison staff

In recent years, “domestic” drones have become increasingly affordable and popular with the public. Prisoners have exploited this, using drones to receive deliveries. The Toulouse-Seysses remand center is the only facility in Occitanie equipped with such technology out of 16 establishments in the region.

The rise in drone activity at Béziers prison is alarming staff, who criticize the administration’s slow response. “We experience drone flights every night,” says union representative David Parmentier to France Bleu Hérault. He stresses the need for an investment in anti-drone technology in Béziers. According to him, Jammers are essential to stop the delivery of contraband, including drugs and weapons, into the prison.

“Not having this device is more than an oversight; it’s a failure of the administration.”

“How can we accept that a facility like the Béziers penitentiary center, which currently houses over 1,000 inmates, lacks such equipment? I can attest to the device’s effectiveness, as seen at the Toulouse-Seysses center. Within just 10 days of installation, the prison population reacted collectively. This clearly shows how effective it is in halting their trafficking activities immediately.”

“More drugs inside than outside the prison”

In 2022, fifteen kilos of drugs were seized solely during package screenings. According to UFAP, the actual amount could be three to four times higher, but it’s impossible to determine the exact quantity. Every night, drones reportedly fly over the prison, dropping packages, according to the union. “Historically, packages were thrown over the prison walls, but drone deliveries have significantly increased in recent months.”

“Currently, we cannot stop trafficking within the prison.”

“I even have the impression that there might be more drugs inside the prison than outside. It may sound cynical, but the amount passing through the prison is hard to measure. We’re still talking about several dozen kilos. This is really problematic because all types of drugs found outside—cannabis, heroin, cocaine, ecstasy—are also found inside.”

189 cell phones seized in 2022

“A prison is like a small town, except it’s filled with people accustomed to committing crimes. If they have access to technology for their trafficking activities, it only makes things worse. Additionally, we face a significant issue within French prisons, including Béziers: many inmates suffer from psychological disorders. The influx of drugs certainly doesn’t help in rehabilitating and treating them.”

The unions argue that these costly jammers would put an end to trafficking. “Where there’s trafficking, there’s extortion and violence. Territory wars happen inside prisons just like outside. An anti-drone jammer would help calm this down. Stopping drug trafficking entirely might be unrealistic, but Jammer would at least limit deliveries,” says David Parmentier, representative of the UFAP union at Béziers prison, who is also advocating for additional resources. Currently, 10% of supervisory positions are vacant.

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