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6 charged for using drone to smuggle contraband into prison

A small unmanned aerial systems "drone" flies over Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Greg Erwin)
April 14, 2023

Six people have been charged in an alleged scheme to use a drone to smuggle items, including drugs, into a federal prison.

The federal indictment alleges that six people conspired to deliver contraband to the U.S. Penitentiary in Leavenworth, Kansas, using a drone between August 2020 and May 2021, according to the Justice Department.

The indictment states that one package dropped off at the prison yard on Jan. 14, 2021, included nine cell phones, tobacco, and a synthetic cannabis product called K-2, the Kansas City Star reported.

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One of the people charged was an inmate at the prison during the timeframe: 35-year-old Dale Gaver III of Omaha, Nebraska, according to the Justice Department. The other five people charged are:

  • Joshua Hamilton, 37, of Omaha, Nebraska
  • Rex Hill, 33, of Omaha, Nebraska
  • Tamarae Hollman, 36, of Riverside, California
  • Dale Gaver II, 54, of Omaha, Nebraska
  • Melvin Edwards, 44, of Riverside, California

Investigators tracked purchases of a “Splash Drone 3 Plus” with night-vision capability, cell phones that were bought at Walmart, as well as allegedly illegal payments for the smuggling via Cash App, the Kansas City Star reported. 

All six have been charged with conspiracy to provide and possess contraband in prison. Hill is also facing a charge of attempting to provide prison contraband. 

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Other charges against Gaver III include a count of attempted possession of prison contraband, as well as one count of possession of prison contraband. Gaver III is alleged to have been caught possessing meth and marijuana in 2021 while he was incarcerated, the Kansas City Star reported.

In other recent news at the Leavenworth prison, a former Kansas City Chiefs player died there in January 2022 while awaiting trial on three counts of illegally possessing firearms, as reported by Fox 4.