Texas man tried to fly contraband into prison using heavy-duty drone

Prosecutors say a man attempted to use a heavy-duty drone to bring to prisoners, including wire cutters and other equipment, as well as money, telephones, cellphone chargers, and large quantities of tobacco.

Authorities stated that a Houston man was indicted on accusations of attempting to use a heavy-duty drone to drop a bag of prohibited materials to prisoners at a federal prison in Texas.

A federal indictment against Davien Philip Turner with two counts of improperly flying an aircraft was released. Each offense carries a maximum sentence of three years in jail.

U.S. Attorney Britt Featherston said at a press conference in Beaumont that there was no indication that Turner was successful in delivering contraband with his drone, but there had been examples of such goods being dropped from drones into the federal prison complex south of Beaumont.

During the press conference, photos showed Turner attempting to bring wire cutters and other equipment, as well as money, smartphones, mobile charges, and a large quantity of tabacco.

According to Featherston, this is the third federal case in the involving drone smuggling efforts and the first in Texas.

“Around the country, drones use in smuggling into prisons has been on the rise,” Featherston said.

According to him, a multi-agency inquiry into the use of drones to bring contraband to prisons is ongoing.

Turner was to be held without bail until a detention hearing on Thursday, according to court documents. A message left for Turner's federal public defender was not answered immediately, reported NBCDFW.

Smuggling contraband with heavy-duty drones

Over the last few years, DroneXL has reported on several cases involving heavy-duty drones and off-the-shelf quadcopters smuggling contraband into prisons. These stories do not only take place in the United States, but we have seen similar cases worldwide.

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Haye Kesteloo
Haye Kesteloo

Haye Kesteloo is the Editor in Chief and Founder of DroneXL.co, where he covers all drone-related news, DJI rumors and writes drone reviews, and EVXL.co, for all news related to electric vehicles. He is also a co-host of the PiXL Drone Show on YouTube and other podcast platforms. Haye can be reached at haye @ dronexl.co or @hayekesteloo.

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