Two New Jersey men have been arrested for using drones to smuggle contraband into a federal prison adjacent to Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, N.J., after a combined Air Force Office of Special Investigations and U.S. Department of Justice investigation.
On March 12, OSI agents from Field Investigations Region 3, Detachment 307 at the base caught the two men—Nicolo Denichilo, 38, of Jersey City, N.J., and Adrian Goolcharran, 35, of Union City, N.J.,—at a “launch site” near the base after officials saw a drone flying over a housing unit at the Fort Dix prison. At the “drop site” in the prison, an inmate was found with 34 cell phones, nine chargers, 51 SIM cards, and other phone equipment, according to an OSI release.
The investigation dated back to when a drone was first seen hovering above the Fort Dix prison in July 2018 and a bag of contraband was found on the roof. Since then, OSI officials have found evidence of at least six more drops. Total seized contraband includes marijuana, steroids, more than 160 cell phones, 150 SIM cards, 74 cell phone batteries and chargers, 35 syringes, and two metal saw blades.
Investigators were able to obtain Denichilo’s fingerprint from a plastic bag from one drop, and Goolcharran’s DNA was recovered from electrical tape.
The men are each charged with one complaint of conspiring to smuggle contraband and to defraud the United States and one count of smuggling contraband into the federal prison at Fort Dix.
OSI said they were “especially interested” in the case because the flight path of the drones directly conflicted with the flight path of USAF aircraft at McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, in addition to “concerns about the counterterrorism and force protection vulnerabilities” of the drones, according to the release.