In a recent development, 32-year-old Dedrick Daesean Sirmans pleaded guilty to operating an unregistered drone and dropping contraband at Macon State Prison. The plea was entered before Chief U.S. District Judge Marc Treadwell, with sentencing scheduled for March 7.
Sirmans faces a maximum penalty of five years in prison, followed by two years of supervised release, and a potential fine of up to $250,000. The charges relate to operating an aircraft eligible for registration while knowing it was not registered, intending to facilitate a controlled substance offense.
The incident unfolded on September 14, 2020, when Georgia Department of Corrections (GDC) K9 handlers patrolling the vicinity of Macon State Prison encountered Sirmans leaving the woods around 1:30 a.m. Sirmans initially claimed to be meeting someone from the dating app Tinder. A subsequent search led to the discovery of a large drone, two plastic bags wrapped in duct tape containing cash, tobacco, marijuana, cell phones, chargers, rolling papers, a Bluetooth device, and clothing. Additionally, three pistols were found in Sirmans’ car trunk parked nearby.
Further investigation by the Department of Transportation Office of Inspector General (DOT-OIG) revealed a total of 25 flight paths taken by the drone. Some of these flights occurred over Macon State Prison, and one was over Patten Probation Detention Center in Lakeland. Flights 23 and 25, specifically on September 14, 2020, closely coincided with the time of Sirmans’ encounter with GDC officers. The drone used in these flights was found to be unregistered.
U.S. Attorney Peter D. Leary emphasized the dangers of contraband in prisons, citing the potential for violence, drug abuse, and criminal activities orchestrated through cell phones. Authorities, including the Department of Transportation Office of Inspector General, expressed their commitment to prosecuting individuals engaged in the illegal and hazardous use of drones for distributing prohibited items to prisoners.
The case was collaboratively investigated by DOT-OIG, GDC, and the Macon County Sheriff’s Office.