UPDATE: Monday, July 27, 3.25pm
Four people have been charged after allegedly attempting to introduce contraband into a Cessnock correctional facility over the weekend.
Officers from the Corrective Services NSW's Security Operations Group North were conducting a surveillance operation at a correctional facility at Cessnock at about 1pm on Saturday when they observed a man within the grounds.
The man attempted to flee before officers detained him and contacted Hunter Valley police.
During a search of the man, police located a ball with several items secreted inside, including prescription medication, cannabis and tobacco.
Police arrested the man and took him to Cessnock Police Station.
He was charged with seven offences, including supply prohibited drug, possess prohibited drug, bring prohibited drug/plant into place of detention, unlawfully bring anything into place of detention and enter inclosed land.
He was refused bail to appear at Newcastle Local Court on Sunday, where he was formally bail refused to appear at the same court on Monday.
Following ongoing inquiries with the Corrective Services Security Operations Group North, correctives officers intercepted a vehicle on Pinchen Street, Nulkaba, at about 9.30am Sunday.
They spoke with the driver - a 28-year-old woman - and two male passengers - aged 22 and 19.
Corrective Services NSW officers detained all three persons and conducted a search of the vehicle, where they allegedly located a large quantity of prescription medication, mobile phones, cannabis, cash and a drone.
Officers contacted Hunter Valley police who arrived a short time later. All three were arrested and taken to Cessnock Police Station.
Police will allege in court that the two men were intending to use the drone to deliver contraband into the correctional facility.
The woman, from Bankstown, was charged with drive motor vehicle while license suspended and a breach of bail offence. She was refused bail to face Newcastle Local Court on Monday.
The 19-year-old man, from Bonnyrigg, was charged with supply prohibited drug less than commercial quantity and possess prohibited drug. He was granted conditional bail to appear at Cessnock Local Court on August 26.
The 22-year-old man, from North Parramatta, was charged with supply prohibited drug less than commercial quantity. He was granted conditional bail to appear at Cessnock Local Court on August 26.
Hunter Valley Police District crime manager, Detective Inspector Matt Zimmer, said local police will continue to work closely with their Corrective Services NSW counterparts to target crime connected with correctional facilities.
"Hunter Valley police target drug crime in our local region, which also includes assisting Correctives NSW to target and monitor illegal activity," Det Insp Zimmer said.
"Illicit drugs can cause detrimental harm inside facilities and in our communities, and all agencies will continue to work together to reduce the supply of the illegal drug trade."
Investigations are continuing.
Corrective Services NSW officers have foiled an alleged attempt to use a drone to drop-off contraband into a maximum-security prison at Cessnock over the weekend.
Acting on intelligence, the officers from the CSNSW Security Operations Group (SOG) North stopped and searched a vehicle near Shortland Correctional Centre about 9.30am Sunday.
A vehicle search allegedly located a number of items including a drone, which had a line of string attached to a package containing 108 buprenorphine strips, 42 buprenorphine tablets and 0.9g of 'green vegetable matter' believed to be cannabis. NSW Police were notified.
CSNSW Commissioner Peter Severin said the operation showed great work by the team at Cessnock in preventing illicit substances from getting into the prison system.
"Since visits were cancelled to correctional centres in March due to COVID-19, we've seen people increasingly using mail, drones and tennis balls in an attempt to smuggle drugs into our prisons," Mr Severin said.
"The good work by our correctional centre staff and our SOG teams in searching for and detecting contraband should send a clear message to these people that we are alert and you will get caught.
"Our officers are proactive and undertake daily contraband searches of inmates, cells and common areas, with the assistance of the SOG. These searches also focus on inmate mail and prison perimeter fences."
Sunday's bust came the day after a tennis ball loaded with contraband was found near the prison.
The SOG North officers were conducting surveillance in an area near the prison about 1pm Saturday when they noticed a man hiding behind a shrub and cut logs.
The man refused directions to remain on the ground and was arrested by SOG officers.
The tennis ball loaded with contraband - including cannabis, tobacco and buprenorphine - was found nearby. NSW Police were notified and the man was charged with drug offences.
Each strip or tablet of buprenorphine has a current prison value of around $1000.