First arrest using drones- more to follow E-mail
Written by Mark Nichols   

Well it was only a matter of time. For the first time in the U.S. a man has been sentenced to jail for an arrest that was only made possible by the use of a loaned drone. According to the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a Fourth Amendment privacy-advocacy group, Rodney Brossart was arrested in 2011 after refusing to relinquish six cows that had wandered onto his property.

Reports indicate that after a 16-hour standoff with the Grand Forks, North Dakota SWAT team, police called in a predator drone on loan from one of the Department of Homeland Security's 22 agencies and departments, in this case Customs and Border Patrol.

It was the loaned drone that located Brossart and his three armed sons. Based on that intelligence police were able to pick an advantageous time to make the arrest.

Bruce Quick, Brossart’s attorney, attempted to make the case that the use of the drone was unlawful on the grounds that police did not have judicial permission and or a warrant to use the drone.

A federal judge rejected that claim and decided that the use of the drone "appeared to have no bearing on these charges being contested here."

A jury upheld the judge's decision, finding Brossart guilty of “terrorizing police.”

The Electronic Frontier Foundation also has shown that the Customs and Border Patrol lent out its predator drones 700 times between 2010 and 2012 to an assortment of other agencies.

Among them were state and local law enforcement entities and other federal agencies like Immigrations and Customs Enforcement and the Drug Enforcement Agency.

It’s unclear if other arrests have been made with support from the federal drone fleet.

This is however the first time in which law enforcement has admitted to using a drone to make an arrest.


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