BEAUMONT, Texas – U.S. Attorney Brit Featherston announced that a grand jury indicted a Houston man for federal violations in the Eastern District of Texas.
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 on the prison population. For example, 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 had used the drone. 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, chargers, various tools, vape pens, and other items.
Those items were to be sold by inmates within the prison. Federal law requires registration of this type of drone with the Federal Aviation Administration, and Turner had failed to do so. Furthermore, he needed a certificate to operate a drone under these circumstances, 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.
The FBI is investigating this case, the Bureau of Prisons, the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office, and the Federal Aviation Administration. Assistant U.S. Attorney Russell James is prosecuting this case.
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.