- Associated Press - Friday, January 29, 2016

CUMBERLAND, Md. (AP) - His lawyer says a man charged with planning to use a drone to fly contraband into a maximum-security state prison will strike a plea deal to avert a trial next week.

Defense attorney Stephen Tully said Friday that 30-year-old Keith Russell of Silver Spring has reached an agreement with prosecutors. Tully wouldn’t divulge details of the deal.

The hearing is set for Feb. 4.

Russell and Thaddeus Shortz of Knoxville were arrested in August outside the Western Correctional Institution near Cumberland. Police found a remote-controlled mini-helicopter and packages containing prescription narcotics, synthetic marijuana, tobacco, pornographic DVDs and a cellphone in Shortz’ truck.

A jury convicted Shortz of 31 offenses Jan. 15.

A third defendant, inmate Charles Brooks, is scheduled for trial in March.

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