California Druggie Duo Used a Drone to Deliver Contraband, Police Say

The couple was arrested on multiple drug-related charges for allegedly using an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) to deliver their illicit goods to customers.

RIVERSIDE, Calif. — How’s this for getting a jump on commercial drone deliveries: A probationer and his girlfriend were hit with felony charges for allegedly dealing drugs from a residence here using an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) to deliver the contraband to customers.

Benjamin Paul Baldassarre, 39, and Ashley Lauren Carroll, 31, were arrested Dec. 21 following an undercover Riverside police investigation into possible illegal activity at Baldassarre’s residence.

Along with three counts of possession of controlled substances for sale, the couple is charged with child endangerment and possession of drug paraphernalia, according to a press release. The child endangerment charges were filed because Baldassarre’s 9-year-old daughter lived in the home, where police say they found syringes and drugs believed to include methamphetamine, LSD-laced candy and powdered fentanyl.

The girl was turned over to her mother.

Investigators were alerted earlier this month to possible drug dealing out of the residence. Riverside detectives began surveilling the house and observed a drone fly from the backyard and drop a package at a public parking area not far away, according to police.

Several people were waiting for the drop and collected the contents, according to police. Once the drugs were delivered, neighbors say, the customers would drive by the home and throw money onto the front lawn. The activity prompted investigators to obtain a search warrant, which was served on Baldassarre and Carroll on Dec. 21.

The defendants were taken into custody without incident.

According to court records, Baldassarre has prior misdemeanor convictions for driving under the influence of drugs and being under the influence of a controlled substance. He and Carroll also are each charged in an unresolved drug-related case, records showed.

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