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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Eastern District of Texas

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, July 12, 2022

Houston Man Indicted for Attempting to Use Drone to Drop Contraband into Beaumont Federal Prison Complex

BEAUMONT, Texas – A Houston man has been indicted for federal violations in the Eastern District of Texas, announced U.S. Attorney Brit Featherston today. 

Davien Phillip Turner, also known as Davien Phillip Mayo, 44, was named in an indictment returned by a federal grand jury on July 6, 2022, charging him with owning or operating a drone that is not registered and serving or attempting to serve as an airman without an airman’s certificate.

Prisons around the country have faced the problem of individuals using drones to fly over prison complexes and drop contraband items to the prison population.  According to court documents, on May 19, 2022, law enforcement officials in Jefferson County, Texas were alerted that a person was operating a drone on the property of the Federal Correctional Complex in Beaumont.  Law enforcement officials responded and eventually found Turner in the area where the drone was being operated.  Near Turner, officers discovered a DJI Matrice 600 Pro Drone.  Law enforcement officers also discovered several bags near the drone that Turner allegedly was going to drop into the prison complex via the drone.  Inside those bags were tobacco, cell phones, cell phone chargers, various tools, vape pens, and other items.  Those items were to be sold by inmates within the prison.  Under federal law, this type of drone was required to be registered with the Federal Aviation Administration, and Turner had failed to do so.  Furthermore, to operate a drone under these circumstances, a certificate was needed, which Turner also had not obtained. 

If convicted, Turner faces up to three years in federal prison and a fine of up to $250,000.  

This case is being investigated by the FBI, the Bureau of Prisons, the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office, and the Federal Aviation Administration.  This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Russell James.

A grand jury indictment is not evidence of guilt.  All defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

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Updated July 12, 2022