Drones have been stirring all kinds of controversy in the past couple years and now a Saudi man just got busted for using one to smuggle drugs into Jeddah's main prison.
According to the Saudi Gazette, the unidentified man has been sentenced to 15 years in prison and 1,500 lashes for stuffing a drone with 1,997 captagon pills and 115 grams of hashish and flying it into Jeddah's Briman prison.
Seven other accomplices were handed down prison sentences ranging from three to 10 years. The Lebanese person who sold the accused the drone wasn't spared. He was hit with 10 sentence, 1,000 lashes and deportation from the kingdom after release. The main defendant's two brothers were also reportedly involved, having navigated the drone from a supermarket near the prison.
They attempted the plot two years ago, and sentences were handed down by Jeddah's Summary Court two days ago.
Inside Briman, a prisoner prepared himself to receive and distribute the drugs. They were to transfer proceeds from the sale to a agreed upon bank account.
A guard noticed the unidentified aircraft as it landed on the roof of the barracks, and immediately reported it.
Despite the severe punishment, the prosecutor wasn't impressed, arguing that the court should have executed the main defendant. Serious drug offenders often receive the death penalty within the kingdom.
Lashes are common punishment in Saudi Arabia for all manner of crimes. Well-known activist and blogger Raif Badawi was famously sentenced to 1,000 lashes, 10 years in prison and a fine for "insulting Islam" and apostasy in 2014. In 2013, Badawi's sentence comprised only 600 lashes and seven years in prison. Badawi's conviction was due to articles he wrote on his website Free Saudi Liberals, where he argued for greater freedom of speech in the kingdom and the secularization of the government.