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New Jersey men arrested for allegedly using drones to drop contraband in a prison, feds

The contraband allegedly included marijuana, cellphones, syringes

A Los Angeles Fire Department demonstration of a drone
(ROBYN BECK/AFP via Getty Images)
Updated: March 25, 2020 - 11:42am

The Facts Inside Our Reporter’s Notebook

Two New Jersey men have been charged in connection with using drones to smuggle contraband into a federal prison, federal officials said Wednesday. 

Nicolo Denichilo and Adrian Goolcharran were charged March 13 in U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey, according to the Department of Transportation Office of Inspector General. 

Denichilo, 38, and Goolcharran, 35, are charged with one count of conspiring to smuggle contraband and defraud the United States, and one count of smuggling contraband into the federal prison, at Fort Dix, in New Jersey. 

Denichilo was arrested March 12, and Goolcharran surrendered to authorities March 17, officials said.

The complaint states that starting July 2018 someone used a drone to make at least seven deliveries of contraband – including marijuana, steroids, syringes, cellphones and cell phone equipment – to Fort Dix inmates. 

Goolcharran used cell phones to coordinate the drops with others, sending text messages with aerial photos of Fort Dix to better position the drops and discuss weather conditions, officials said.

Denichilo was arrested the same day that law-enforcement agents purportedly approached him and another individual at a drone launch site near Fort Dix, and after prison officials spotted a drone flying over an inmate housing unit. 

Both men fled, and Denichilo was apprehended hiding in a ditch near the launch site. At the drone drop inside the prison, officials found an inmate with 34 cell phones, nine chargers, 51 SIM cards and other telephone equipment, officials said.

The report does not name the person with Denichilo. 

Goolcharran was arrested after an individual fitting his description and another person were spotted by a surveillance camera March 7 carrying and flying a drone from a launch spot in the woods outside of Fort Dix, according to the U.S. Attorneys Office for the District of New Jersey.

Just the News is attempting to contact Denichilo and Goolcharran’s lawyers for comment. 

Law enforcement also obtained evidence of Goolcharran bringing multiple drones to a store for repairs, including a broken drone shortly after the March 7, 2020, drone flight, the U.S. attorneys office said.


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