Police in Melbourne have arrested a 28-year-old Australia man for allegedly operating a four-engine drone in Ravenhall in order to smuggle drugs into a prison. According to a statement from local law enforcement, "A man and a woman were located in a car on Middle Road around 4.30 p.m. with what was believed to be a drone with four engines and a small quantity of drugs."
What exactly those substances were and what the pair were doing with them is, as of this writing, unclear. For what it's worth, Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) spokesman Peter Gibson told ABC News that the pair may not have been breaking any airspace laws, since recreational drone us in Australia is largely unregulated. "Using them essentially as model aircraft, people can just buy them and use them, as long as they fly them according to the safety rules," Gibson said.
Commercial drone use, meanwhile, has promising applications in a number of industries, from delivering Wi-Fi to inaccessible regions to modernizing agriculture. Package delivery, such as the kind breathlessly hinted at by Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos last year, has a slightly murkier future, since whirly-bladed quadcopters will be subject to intense scrutiny from regulators. (The United Arab Emirates is said to be experimenting with commercial drone delivery, however, despite numerous technical challenges in the region.)
But using a drone to possibly smuggle illegal goods? One would have to imagine it being one of the more formidable challenges for law enforcement going into the next decade. It wasn't the first time we have heard of it happening, either. And it likely won't be the last.