The South Carolina Department of Corrections (SCDC) Inspector General issued arrest warrants at the end of 2023for two Greenville men, Tavis Barnette, 42, and Joshua Bryan Lay, 33, on contraband charges related to a drone incident at Ridgeland Correctional Institution.

The individuals were apprehended in a solar panel field near the prison while operating a drone (described in the Arrest Warrant Affidavit as an orange drone) carrying contraband in the direction of the correctional facility.

Barnette faces several charges, including:
– Trafficking in methamphetamines
– Two counts of possession of cocaine with intent to distribute
– Possession of marijuana with intent to distribute
– Providing contraband to prisoners
– Criminal conspiracy

Lay faces multiple charges, including:
– Trafficking in methamphetamines
– One count of possession of cocaine with intent to distribute
– Possession of marijuana with intent to distribute
– Providing contraband to prisoners
– Criminal conspiracy

During the arrest, law enforcement seized a drone, along with narcotics, tobacco, cell phones, and various contraband items. The confiscated drugs comprised 30 grams of methamphetamine, 10.4 grams of cocaine, and 875.3 grams of marijuana.

Ridgeland Correctional Institution successfully deterred the introduction of contraband into its facility in the Spring of 2023.

On March 23, 2023, Brian Francis Williams Jr. was arrested on contraband charges related to inmates at Ridgeland Correctional Institution. The charges include trafficking in methamphetamine/cocaine over 100 grams, trafficking in heroin over 28 grams, possession of marijuana with intent to distribute, criminal conspiracy, and providing contraband to prisoners.

Notably, Williams was already out on bond for similar charges from an incident at McCormick Correctional Institute in December 2022, where he was found in possession of a DJI Inspire 2 drone and eight drone batteries in addition to contraband.

See Also-

Counter-UAS Resources- Correctional Institutions

Post Image- Arrest Warrant- Tavis Barnette (Post Image Credit: SCDC)