California couple charged with using drone to deliver illegal drugs

A California couple was charged Tuesday with dealing drugs out of their Riverside home and using a drone to deliver them to customers, KNBC reported.

Benjamin Paul Baldassarre, 39, and Ashley Lauren Carroll, 31, were arrested Thursday after an undercover police investigation into alleged illegal activity at Baldassarre’s residence, authorities said. They were charged with three counts of possession of controlled substances for sale, child endangerment and possession of drug paraphernalia.

According to Riverside police Officer Ryan Railsback, narcotics detectives received a tip and began surveillance of Baldassarre’s home. Detectives said they saw a drone fly out of the backyard of the property to a public parking area nearby, where a package was dropped from the aerial vehicle, KNBC reported.

Several people were waiting for the drop and collected the contents, according to police. The activity prompted investigators to obtain a search warrant, which was served on Baldassarre and Carroll on Thursday morning, Railsback said.

Officers located “used and uncapped hypodermic syringes scattered throughout a bedroom,” Railsback said. Officers uncovered an undisclosed quantity of methamphetamine, as well as “unpackaged powders believed to contain fentanyl,” Railsback said.

Baldassarre's 9-year-old daughter was removed from the residence and placed in the care of Riverside County Child Protective Services agents, who eventually released the child to her mother, Railsback said.