Two men from Hudson County, one from Union City and one from Jersey City, have been charged with using drugs to smuggle steroids, marijuana, cell phones, along with related equipment, into a federal prison, U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito announced.
By John Heinis/Hudson County View
Nicolo Denichilo, 38, of Jersey City, and Adrian Goolcharran, also known as Adrian Ajoda and Adrian Ahoda, 35, of Union City, were each charged with one count of conspiring to smuggle contraband and to defraud the United States and one count of smuggling contraband into the federal prison at Fort Dix.
Denichilo was arrested on March 12th after federal law enforcement agents learned of a scheduled drone drop at Fort Dix.
He had his initial appearance this afternoon before U.S. Magistrate Judge Tonianne Bongiovanni in Trenton federal court and was released on $100,000 unsecured bond, while Goolcharran remains at large.
Special agents of the U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Inspector General (DOJ-OIG) obtained evidence of at least seven drone deliveries since July 2018 containing contraband meant for inmates at Fort Dix.
Goolcharran used cell phones to coordinate the drops with others, including text messaging aerial shots of locations at Fort Dix to better position the drops and to discuss weather conditions, according to the criminal complaint.
On the same day as a drone drop in April 2019, local police in the area conducted a vehicle stop on Denichilo and Goolcharran less than five miles from Fort Dix.
Then, on March 7th, an individual fitting Goolcharran’s description, along with another unnamed individual, were captured by a surveillance camera carrying and flying a drone from a launch spot located in the woods outside of Fort Dix, authorities said.
Additionally, law enforcement also allegedly obtained evidence of Goolcharran bringing multiple drones to a store for repairs, including a broken drone shortly after the March 7, 2020, drone flight.
On March 12th, law enforcement agents, acting on information obtained by Fort Dix officials, approached Denichilo and another individual at a launch site near the prison, minutes after officials had observed a drone flying over a housing unit at the prison.
Both men fled, and Denichilo was apprehended hiding in a ditch near the launch site.
Furthermore, Fort Dix officials also found an inmate in the area of the drone drop inside the prison in possession of 34 cell phones, nine chargers, 51 SIM cards and other telephone equipment.
Agents also seized an SUV near the launch site outside of the prison that contained the drone in the backseat.
Contraband that has been seized by authorities pursuant to the intercepted drone drops into Fort Dix includes marijuana, steroids, more than 160 cell phones, 150 SIM cards, 74 cell phone batteries and chargers, 35 syringes and two metal saw blades, officials said.
Denichilo’s fingerprint was obtained from a plastic bag recovered from one of the drone drops at Fort Dix. Goolcharran’s DNA was recovered from electrical tape found on the drone used in a July 2018 drop.
The conspiracy count carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison and maximum fine of $250,000 and the contraband smuggling count carries a maximum penalty of one year in prison and $100,000 fine.