Florida Man Pleads Guilty to Shooting Down Sheriff’s Drone, Faces Up to 10 Years

His plea deal includes a damages payment of $29,034—the value of the drone—to the Lake County Sheriff’s Office and a possible 10-year federal prison term.

Booking photo of Wendell D. Goney taken in 2021 following his arrest over destruction of a Lake County Sheriff's drone.Booking photo of Wendell D. Goney taken in 2021 following his arrest over destruction of a Lake County Sheriff's drone.Lake County Sheriff's Office

A Lake County, Florida, man has to pay $29,000 to the sheriff’s office and faces up to a decade in federal prison because he shot down a sheriff’s drone in 2021.

Wendell D. Goney, 52, pleaded guilty Friday to possessing a firearm as a felon.

His plea deal includes a damages payment of $29,034—the value of the drone—to the Lake County Sheriff’s Office and a possible 10-year federal prison term.

Deputies responded to a possible burglary at a property in Mount Dora, Florida, next door to Goney’s home, July 11, 2021. To help with the search, they deployed a drone to survey the area.

They then heard gunshots from nearby and saw the drone fall from the sky.

Following the sound of the gunshot, the deputies approached Goney. At first, he denied responsibility.

When deputies told him the drone carried a camera, he remained silent, shaking his head and sighing, according to body camera footage. Goney then admitted to shooting the drone and claimed it was harassing him, court records write. 

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