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Drug-laden drone takes to the Riverside sky, suspects land in jail

By in Press Enterprise on December 23, 2017

By Brian Rokos

Two suspected drug dealers literally took their business to a new level, Riverside police say.

Detectives arrested two residents of the Orangecrest neighborhood Thursday, Dec. 21, the culmination of an investigation that began when officers observed a drone take off from a backyard and drop into a nearby parking lot a package of narcotics that was picked up by the suspects’ customers, police said.

There have been reports of criminals using drones to deliver drugs, cell phones and other contraband to prison yards, but Riverside police Officer Ryan Railsback said Friday that he believes this is the first time that someone has used a drone to transport illegal drugs in the city.

“Most of the drone calls we get are nuisance or people worried they are being videotaped,” Railsback said.

Benjamin Paul Baldassarre, 39, and Ashley Lauren Carroll, 31, were arrested and booked into Robert Presley Detention Center on suspicion of possession of controlled substances, possession of controlled substances for the purposes of sales, conspiracy and child endangerment.

Benjamin Paul Baldassarre
Photo courtesy Riverside PoliceAshley Lauren CarrollPhoto courtesy Riverside PoliceAshley Lauren Carroll
Photo courtesy Riverside Police

Both were in custody Friday with bail set at $50,000 each.

The development means that police, once again, must evolve with the criminals, Railsback said.

“It’s just now that law enforcement is going to have to adjust to these new tactics just like we do with any time of crime – car theft, car burglary, computer crimes to commit fraud,” he said. “We learn of a new tactic that the bad guys are using and we adjust to get a couple of steps ahead of them.

“It’s literally a cat-and-mouse game. It’s a new way of chasing the mouse,” Railsback said.

The investigation began in early December when police were tipped to the drone being used to deliver drugs. […]    

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