Georgia drone shop owner arrested after alleged airdrops of contraband into prisons

“We stopped roughly 170 prison drops during the course of the investigation."


On Thursday, a drone shop owner was arrested in Gwinnett County, Georgia, in connection to a massive Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organization (RICO) operation that involved using drones to smuggle ecstasy, meth, guns, cell phones and more into Georgia prisons.

According to WSB-TV, Georgia Department of Corrections (GDC) special agents raided the Thunder Drones establishment, arrested owner Robert Schwartz, and seized more than 50 drones in two simultaneous raids. The second raid was on Schwartz's home.

Responding to a reporter on the scene of the raid, Schwartz maintained that he had not broken the law and said, "All I do is repair drones."

"I’ve been repairing radio-controlled things for 50 years. I don’t know what they’re even here for," he added.

GDC Special Agent Gregg Phillips told the local outlet, "We did electronic interceptions on Mr. Robert Schwartz, his business here Thunder Drones, and inmates and associates of inmates."

"Operation Skyhawk" began in November 2022 and has yielded 22 firearms, 273 cellphones, and a substantial amount of drugs.

“We stopped roughly 170 prison drops during the course of the investigation,” Phillips noted. “We’ve arrested 146 individuals associated with contraband drops. Out of those, eight of them are correctional officers, or were."

GDC Commissioner Tyrone Oliver said the case "will be the largest gang RICO case in the history of the state of Georgia and it originated by the men and women here at the Georgia Department of Corrections."

In a statement, Georgia Governor Brian Kemp said, "Georgia will not tolerate those who put our communities at risk by trafficking drugs, weapons, and contraband both in and out of our correctional facilities."

"I want to thank Commissioner Oliver, the hardworking men and women of the GDC, and all law enforcement who worked to shut these operations down and help keep both Georgians and our correctional facilities safe," Kemp said.

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