An Inmate and a Costa Mesa Man Were Busted for Allegedly Air Dropping Drugs into an OC Jail

A rep with the Orange County Sheriff’s Department called the drone-assisted operation ”a fairly sophisticated method of delivery into a jail”

A Costa Mesa man was arrested Tuesday on suspicion of using a drone to smuggle various drugs, including heroin and methamphetamine, into the outdoor recreation area of a jail in the city of Orange, along with other felony charges, Orange County Register reports. 

Chey Cody Smart, 43, was allegedly in charge of operating the drone while inmate Megan Elizabeth Donovan—who was convicted in 2018 of bringing drugs into a correctional facility—used a jailhouse phone to direct Smart where to land the device. The drone was carrying two grams of heroin, four grams methamphetamine, about 15 Xanax pills, and 15 muscle relaxers, the Orange County Sheriff’s Department said on Twitter. 

An inmate worker found the drone in a grassy area at the jail two days after it crashed and reported it to Sheriff’s deputies. A search for suspects led detectives to Smart’s residence in Costa Mesa, where they say they found multiple illegal firearms, an undisclosed amount of fentanyl, and a remote controller later determined to pair with the drone found in the jail, according to a news release. Smart was also allegedly in possession of a vehicle that had been stolen. 

Smart was booked into the Orange County Jail Tuesday for multiple felony charges including possession of a controlled substance with a firearm, possession of an assault weapon, identity theft, grand theft auto, and receiving stolen property, along with some misdemeanors. On Thursday, Smart, who was being held in jail on $227,500 bail, pleaded not guilty to the laundry list of charges, the Los Angeles Times reports. 

Meanwhile, Donovan was charged with two felony counts of bringing or sending drugs into a jail and also with conspiring to commit a crime. According to the Times, she was in custody Thursday and was scheduled to appear in court Friday. 

Orange County Sheriff’s Sgt. Ryan Anderson told the OC Register that he couldn’t recall another instance in which a drone was used to smuggle drugs into an Orange County jailhouse. 

“This is a fairly sophisticated method of delivery into a jail,” he said.

Stay on top of the latest in L.A. news, food, and culture. Sign up for our newsletters today.