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Predator Drone Helps Nab Cattle Rustlers 214

riverat1 writes "KTLA reports police in North Dakota arrested three men accused of cattle rustling with the help of a Predator B drone from nearby Grand Forks AFB. The sheriff of Nelson Country was chased off by three armed men when he went to serve a warrant, so he came back the next morning with reinforcements, including the drone, which, while circling 2 miles overhead, was able to determine the whereabouts of the men on their 3,000 acre spread and the fact that they were unarmed. A SWAT team quickly moved in and apprehended the men. Local police say they have used the Predator drones for at least two dozen surveillance flights since June. The FBI and DEA have used the drones for domestic investigations as well."
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Predator Drone Helps Nab Cattle Rustlers

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  • Not military (Score:5, Informative)

    by Discopete ( 316823 ) on Monday December 12, 2011 @06:15PM (#38348382) Homepage

    Before anyone goes all ape-s$%t about this being an intrusion of the military into civilian affairs, the drones in question are owned and operated by Customs and Border Patrol, a division of the Department of Homeland Security. They are housed at an Air Force base, but not used nor owned by the USAF.

    CBP had been using drones for a couple of years to patrol the borders and this is an extension of that mission. Works better than a helo, especially for very large areas.

  • by Scareduck ( 177470 ) on Monday December 12, 2011 @06:24PM (#38348542) Homepage Journal

    It's poorly identified at the story link. The original can be found at [].

  • Re:Not military (Score:5, Informative)

    by TheReaperD ( 937405 ) on Monday December 12, 2011 @07:29PM (#38349552)

    I wish I had mod points at the moment...

    ICE has had a HUGE expansion of mission parameters in the last year. What makes this such a problem is that ICE is one of the few government enforcement agencies that has a large legal leeway that usually does not require warrants. This makes sense when they are patrolling the border as things happen really quickly and they have to react accordingly. But, as of earlier this year, their mandate has been vastly expanded to include things such as domain seizures and domestic law enforcement actions. Earlier this year, ICE's range was expanded to 200! miles inside the border and the media was silent. This covers a large portion of the country where a government law enforcement agency can act without a court order and detain you without cause. Now, the US Senate has passed a bill that will let them ship your ass strait to GITMO and leave you there to rot. It hasn't passed the house yet and Obama has issued a veto 'threat' but, don't hold your breath. In California, we had a recent series of of federal raids against medical marijuana growers and sellers that were legal by state standards (they went after the most clearly legal and above board operations first). The federal agency? Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), in northern California, against organizations and people that were local and had nothing to do with cross-border drug smuggling verified by law enforcement agencies. They're being used as a back door way of avoiding law enforcement annoyances such as laws, due process, courts and citizen oversight. At this rate, by the time most people realize what is happening, we will be living in a fascist military state where big brother is watching. I guess Hunter Thompson was right :(

  • by flyboy974 ( 624054 ) on Monday December 12, 2011 @07:42PM (#38349724)

    The FAA is still trying to figure out how to integrate UAS's. (They are not called UAV's in the FAA NAS system).

    Many legal issues remain:
    - Enforcing see and avoid rules required in VFR flight
    - Defining standards for communication with aircraft
    - Who do you enforce rules with a violation when there is an accident if there is no pilot
    - How to handle technical issues such as loss of control / software failure, physical issues such as loss of a trim type control, flap system, etc.
    - Weather issues such as high winds, icing

    As a pilot and somebody active in aviation software, I'm interested to see where things go here. The reason the military has been able to fly UAV's is because they don't have any rules. Do whatever you want. But in the civil area, we have rules because we choose to protect ourselves from our government and others.

  • by Jeremiah Cornelius ( 137 ) on Tuesday December 13, 2011 @01:07AM (#38352116) Homepage Journal

    This entire story is far more complex and subtle, than the "McNews" cattle-rustle story linked in the original posting.

    Read Greenwald, who as usual, digs deeper into the context and background. It is indeed, a story of creeping fascist militarization of the US: []

    The colonists overthrew George lll for lesser intrusion.

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