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Feds bust conspiracy using drones to drop contraband to inmates at federal prison

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Posted at 1:04 PM, Apr 13, 2023

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Six people have been indicted for their role in a conspiracy to use a drone to drop contraband to inmates housed at federal Leavenworth Penitentiary.

Federal grand jurors made the indictment on April 5 against inmates Dale Gaver III and Melvin Edwards as well as four others, including Rex Hill, Dale Gaver II, Joshua Hamilton and Tamarae Hollman.

Court documents unsealed Thursday reveal that around Jan. 14, 2021, a drone piloted by Hill flew over the penitentiary yard, dropping nine cell phones, eight SIM cards, tobacco and synthetic cannabinoid K-2. The contraband was then distributed to inmates at the prison, which included Gaver III and Awards.

Using a cell phone that was dropped into the prison yard, Gaver III attempted to coordinate additional drone drops into the prison yard with Hill.

Co-defendant Hollman purchased the drone used in the operation. Hamilton helped to obtain some of the illegal substances that were part of the drop.

Gaver III, Gaver II, Hamilton and Hill, all of whom are from Omaha, Nebraska, face one count of conspiracy to provide and possess contraband in prison. Edwards and Hollman, of Riverside, California, face a charge of conspiracy to provide and possess contraband in prison.

Hill also faces a charge of attempting to provide prison contraband. Gaver III faces an additional charge of attempted possession of prison contraband and one count of possession of prison contraband.

For jurisdictions that utilize the Greater Kansas City Crime Stoppers Tips Hotline, anonymous tips can be made by calling 816-474-TIPS (8477), submitting the tip online or through the free mobile app at P3Tips.com.

Annual homicide details and data for the Kansas City area are available through the KSHB 41 News Homicide Tracker, which was launched in 2015. Read the KSHB 41 News Mug Shot Policy.