Federal Grand Jury Indictment of George Lo, Nicholas Lo, and Cheikh Hassane Toure filed in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Georgia, Dublin Division.
Three guilty pleas to the scheme
All three (3) defendants pled guilty to the scheme in 2021 and received 12 months in federal prison each. The prosecutions of the three individuals are among the first in the nation under federal laws regulating non-passenger aircraft. The prosecution of defendant Nicholas Lo is believed to be the first in the nation for illegally serving or attempting to serve as a commercial drone pilot.
According to court documents and testimony, George Lo was serving a sentence for armed robbery at Telfair State Prison in Georgia. While in prison, he began conspiring with Nicholas Lo, Toure, and others. On numerous occasions, the Lo brothers discussed using a drone to deliver contraband to Telfair State Prison.
Nicholas Lo and Toure practiced flying the Storm Drone 4 kit-built uncrewed aircraft system on multiple occasions. George Lo planned to pay the two co-conspirators to deliver contraband into the prison via drone. George Lo intended to sell the contraband to other inmates.
The scheme unraveled when Telfair County Sheriff’s deputies observed a vehicle approaching the prison perimeter in the early morning of August 19, 2019. The vehicle turned off its lights and parked about 100 yards from the prison. Deputies searched the area and found Nicholas Lo and Toure in a wooded area near the prison. The pair possessed a large duffel bag containing the Storm 4 drone, a controller, a video monitor, and a headset. The bag also contained 14 cellular telephones, at least 74 grams of tobacco, a digital scale, and earbud headphones.
The three-count indictment charged the following:
Count One- Lo, Lo, and Toure with Conspiracy in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 371.
Count Two- Lo and Lo with Owning an Unregistered Aircraft that was Operated, Attempted to be Operated, or Allowed to be Operated by Another Person in violation of 49 U.S.C. § 46306(b)(5)(A).;
Count Three- Nicholas Lo and Toure with Serving or Attempting to Serve as an Airman Without an Airman’s Certificate in violation of 49 U.S.C. § 46306(b)(7).