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Georgia Man Sentenced to Prison for Using Unregistered UAS To Deliver a Controlled Substance

On October 31, 2019, Eric Brown was sentenced in U.S. District Court, Albany, Georgia, to 48 months’ imprisonment followed by 36 months’ supervised release. He had been charged with using an unregistered unmanned aircraft system (UAS) to attempt to deliver contraband to Autry State Prison, Pelham, Georgia. Brown admitted to the court that he tried to deliver a controlled substance to the prison using a DJI Phantom 4 UAS and that he did not possess a valid FAA Airman’s Certificate or Remote Pilot Certificate, as required by law.

According to the U.S. Department of Justice, this is the Nation’s first Federal prosecution involving the unlawful operation of a UAS. 

DOT-OIG conducted this investigation with the Georgia Department of Corrections, Office of Professional Standards, and the Mitchell County, Georgia, Sheriff’s Department, with assistance from FAA.