Breaking News
More () »

Houston man sentenced to 8 months in federal prison for trying to use drone to drop contraband in Beaumont prison

Officials say he planned on dropping bags full of tobacco, cell phones, cell phone chargers, tools, and vape pens to be sold within the prison.

BEAUMONT, Texas — A Houston man is facing prison time for allegedly using a drone to drop contraband into the Beaumont Federal Prison Complex.

Federal agents say people trying to smuggle drugs and other items into prisons is nothing new, but they say this is the first time someone has attempted to do this using a drone in Texas.

US Attorney Brit Featherston announced the indictment of Davien Phillip Turner, also known as Davien Phillip Mayo, during a press conference Tuesday.

"Anyone who threatens or compromises that safety, not just the guards but the inmates as well, will be investigated and brought to justice," Featherston said.

Featherston said Jefferson County law enforcement was called to the Beaumont federal prison on May 19 after someone spotted a drone.

He said law enforcement found Davien Turner nearby, and they found several bags near the drone.

"Turner is alleged to have operated a large drone and attempted to deliver phones, vape pens, tobacco, phone chargers, and other items into the Federal Bureau of Prisons here in Jefferson County," Featherston said.

Featherston and federal agents say smuggling of contraband into prisons is nothing new.

"They're making hundreds of thousands of dollars smuggling, whether it be weapons, drugs, cellphones into these prisons," said FBI Houston Special Agent in Charge James Smith.

Featherston said there have been previous drops from unmanned drones in Beaumont, but they don't have evidence linking Turner to those.

Historically, Featherston said smugglers have some type of connection to an inmate. That's how they get paid.

Special agent Russell James said it's all tough for them to track.

"Normally when they make calls they're monitored,” James said. “When you have a situation like this, they can be calling hits. They can be ordering drugs, anything that can cause issues not only in the prison but on the streets as well."

“These items form an illegal currency in our prison systems,” said Featherston. “This illegal currency also causes problems. It causes danger to our corrections officers. It causes disturbances. It causes assaults in our prisons."

Turner planned on dropping bags full of tobacco, cell phones, cell phone chargers, tools, and vape pens to be sold by inmates within the prison, according to Featherston.

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

CRIME STOPPERS | Submit a tip @ 833Tips.com

If you have information about a crime you could earn a cash reward of up to $1000 by providing an ANONYMOUS tip to Crime Stoppers of Southeast Texas.

Call 833-TIPS (8477) or download the P3Tips App on your mobile device to submit your tip anonymously.

This is a developing story. We will update with more if and when we receive more confirmed information.

CRIME STOPPERS APP | Download the P3 Tips App

GET NEWS & WEATHER ALERTS | Download the 12News App to your mobile device

Also on 12NewsNow.com...

Before You Leave, Check This Out