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Drone farmer arrest: Man charged with stealing cattle, caught with drone video

Flying Predator drone image
Flying Predator drone image
Photo File (Twitter),

A drone farmer arrest was recently made, thanks primarily due to video footage captured by Predator drones flying overhead. The man was charged with stealing cattle and was since sentenced to a number of years behind bars for a related crime involving a police standoff. The Epoch Times reports this Tuesday, Jan. 28, 2014, that the case marks one of the first prominent incidents in which a governmental drone was used to secure evidence in a criminal trial.

The drone farmer arrest left North Dakota farmer Rodney Brossart sentenced to jail for no less than three years after participating in a violent standoff with law enforcement officials after allegedly stealing cattle from a neighbor back in 2011. The family was not willing to hand Brossart over, eventually heightening the dangerous situation to gunpoint, after authorities asked for the man with a search warrant.

Soon afterwards, Rodney Brossart was released on bail. However, he failed to appear in court, so local Nelson County officials requested that the U.S. Border Patrol use the video surveillance that Predator drones might provide to keep a sharp eye on the farm and surrounding area.

For the next several weeks following the drone farmer arrest, the Predator drone continued to closely monitor the family. At this point, it remains undetermined whether the drone was in fact able to get proof for the cattle theft, or how much specific evidence was gathered.

Nonetheless, the drone apparently managed to capture enough video footage to formally arrest the Brossart family on serious terrorizing charges.

“We put a tactical operational plan together this afternoon and we implemented it and everything went as planned for us, so we’re very pleased that we did end with a peaceful resolution this evening,” confirmed a police official to a local media source.

Although Rodney Brossart was eventually found not guilty on the charge of stealing the cattle, he did earn himself three years in prison for his standoff encounter with the law enforcement officers.

Via Forbes: “Records obtained by the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a civil liberties group, found that CBP Predator drones flew 700 missions between 2010 and 2012 for other law enforcement agencies, including the FBI, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, and local police departments. CBP Predators were equipped with Vehicle and Dismount Exploitation Radar (VADER), developed by the military to detect insurgents in Afghanistan.”

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