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Lincoln man accused of using drone to try to deliver marijuana to prison

Lincoln man accused of using drone to try to deliver marijuana to prison

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A warrant has gone out for the arrest of a Lincoln man who investigators believe crashed his drone while trying to deliver marijuana and tobacco to the Lincoln Correctional Center.

The Lancaster County Attorney's office this week charged Robert M. Kinser, 37, with possession of marijuana with intent to deliver sometime between Dec. 18, 2017, and Feb. 16, 2018.

The February date is when an inmate on a work detail found a crashed DJI Phantom 4 drone and two white bags -- one with 17.5 grams of marijuana, another with tobacco and rolling papers -- on prison grounds, Nebraska State Patrol Investigator Pedram Nabegh wrote in an affidavit for Kinser's arrest.

The inmate turned it in to a prison captain, and the State Patrol was called in to investigate what appeared to be an attempt to smuggle contraband into the prison.

Nabegh said 13 digital photographs and six movie clips extracted from the drone led to a demolition site in Beatrice, where Kinser works.

He said Kinser, who was released in 2010 from a 20- to 25-year prison sentence on drug, assault and weapons charges, confirmed he had piloted the drone and had taken photos of his company pickup and a Beatrice work site.

But, he denied being responsible for other photos taken on LCC grounds, delivering or trying to deliver anything on prison grounds or crashing his drone there.

Kinser told the investigator he had sold the drone.

Nabegh said he couldn't find any proof of that, but was able to track down flight data associated with the drone through Kinser's mobile number. In the affidavit, he said, some of the flights had GPS data that showed Kinser had flown the drone west of the prison as late as Jan. 13, 2018.

He said Kinser couldn't explain why he was parked at or flying his drone at Southwest 35th Circle, just west of LCC.

Nabegh said he got a search warrant to examine the data stored on Kinser's phone, which logged a flight Dec. 16, 2017, from Pioneers Park approaching LCC airspace, which prompts a warning to the operator that it is a no-fly zone.

He said deleted GPS data from the app on Kinser's phone also indicated he had flown it at locations west of LCC and above LCC grounds.

Nabegh said Kinser's fingerprints also were found on electrical tape used to cover the drone's navigational lights, which he had denied doing.

Kinser had not been arrested as of Wednesday afternoon.

If convicted of the drug charge, he could face up to 20 years in prison.

Reach the writer at 402-473-7237 or

On Twitter @LJSpilger.


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Public safety reporter

Lori Pilger is a Norfolk native and University of Nebraska-Lincoln graduate who has been a public safety reporter for the Journal Star since 2005.

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