North Dakota Predator? Cows Recovered with Drone, Domestic Spy Plane Assists in Arrests
A Predator drone has been used by a sheriff in North Dakota to help recover six missing cows that had wandered from one rancher's property to another.
The scenario that caused a county sheriff to call in the US predator drone began when a sheriff's deputy tried to investigate the matter of the missing cows and was chased away at a ranch owned by the Brossart family, allegedly by armed family members.
Police claim the family is part of an anti-government movement and employed the military aircraft for some domestic spy work as they re-grouped to move in on the family and make arrests.
The sheriff summoned a $154 million MQ-9 Predator B drone from nearby Grand Forks Air Force Base, where it was patrolling the US-Canada border for the US Department of Homeland Security.
He also called for "reinforcements from the state Highway Patrol, a regional SWAT team, a bomb squad, ambulances and deputy sheriffs from three other counties," reports the LA Times.
The spy mission gave police the information needed to make an arrest while the suspects were unarmed.
The drone flew over the family's ranch and once it spied the three brothers suspected of chasing away the deputy, it switched on the infra-red and it revealed they were unarmed.
The three men were still on the family's sprawling farm riding and were on ATVs.
Once they isolated enough and the drone showed they were unarmed, law enforcement moved in and made the arrests without firing a shot.
The drone returned to base.
In this case law enforcement had a warrant, but the use of drones to spy on US citizens raises questions that trouble privacy advocates.
The story notes that "local police say they have used two unarmed Predators based at Grand Forks Air Force Base to fly at least two dozen surveillance flights since June."
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