Drone Drug Deliveries to Prisons Result in 10 Indictments

Last week, federal agents dismantled two major drone operations responsible for delivering drugs and to Pleasant Valley State Prison and the U.S. Penitentiary in Leavenworth. The drones carried marijuana, synthetic cannabis (spice/K2), butane oil, and a variety of other drugs and illicit items.

The U.S. Attorney's Office, Eastern District of , announced in a press release that four defendants were indicted for their roles in delivering drugs to prisons via drones.

  • Michael Ray Acosta, 48, already incarcerated at Pleasant Valley State Prison, faces conspiracy to distribute drugs and federal racketeering charges.
  • Jose Enrique Oropeza, 34, from Colton, California, has been charged with conspiracy to own and operate an unregistered drone, among other charges.
  • Rosendo Rene Ramirez, 34, and David Ramirez Jr., 34, both from Sacramento, are each charged with conspiracy to distribute drugs using an unregistered drone and several other offenses.

Rosendo Ramirez faces additional charges for using firearms. According to court documents, Acosta coordinated multiple drone deliveries of contraband to prisons across the state using a smuggled cellphone. Oropeza, Rosendo Ramirez, and David Ramirez Jr. allegedly operated the drones, dropping packages of contraband into prisons for distribution among inmates.

If convicted, the defendants could face penalties ranging from 10 years to life imprisonment, and fines of up to $10 million for conspiracy charges. For possession with intent to distribute drugs, they face five to 40 years in prison and fines of up to $5 million. Rosendo Rene Ramirez's firearms charges could result in an additional 10 years and fines.

In a separate incident, six more individuals were reportedly indicted for using drones to deliver drugs into the U.S. Penitentiary in Leavenworth. Dale Gaver III and Melvin Edwards, both already in prison, allegedly coordinated with four others outside the prison to deliver drugs between August 2020 and May 2021. Inmates were reportedly able to order specific drugs for delivery into the prison yard, according to The Wichita Eagle.

The six individuals face various conspiracy and drug possession charges. The drone operation in this case delivered synthetic cannabis, marijuana, cigarettes, and cell phones to the prison, as reported by The Sacramento Bee.

Photo courtesy of High Times.


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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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