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2nd suspect striking plea deal in Md. prison drone case

CUMBERLAND — The second of three suspects charged with planning to fly contraband into a maximum-security state prison aboard a drone is due in court for a plea deal.

Thirty-year-old Keith Russell of Silver Spring has a plea hearing scheduled Thursday morning in Cumberland. Defense attorney Stephen Tully says Russell has reached an agreement with prosecutors. Tully declined to give details of the deal.

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

A jury convicted Shortz of 31 offenses Jan. 15.

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