The drone farmer arrest in North Dakota is gaining national attention because it is the first case in which live video surveillance from a large Predator drone was used to arrest an alleged cattle-stealing farmer and his three sons, reported Fox News on Jan. 28, 2014.
The conflict between farmer Rodney Brossart, his three sons -- Thomas, Alex and Jacob, all in their 20s -- and authorities began in 2011 after a neighbor's three cows and their calves had strayed on to Rodney Brossart’s 3,600-acre farm.
As state District Judge Joel Medd adequately expressed the matter, “this case should have never happened. Chalk it up to stubbornness, to stupidity, to being at odds with your neighbors or any combination of those. We should never have been here if the cows would have just been returned."
But where stubbornness prevails, a Predator drone comes in.
The day police officers appeared on Rodney Brossart’s farm with a search warrant in order to arrest him for allegedly stealing his neighbor’s cattle (a felony with a top sentence of five years in prison and a $10,000 fine), Rodney Brossart and his three sons threatened and fought the officers in an armed standoff.
According to a Grand Forks Herald report, “the unusual case attracted wide attention because Nelson County Sheriff Kelly Janke took up the U.S. Border Patrol's offer of live video surveillance from a large drone of Brossart's three sons before arresting them at their farm southeast of Lakota the day after he was arrested.”
The arrest of the farmer’s three sons with the help of the Predator drone came finally to an end in the courtroom on Tuesday. Following a plea deal, state District Judge Joel Medd sentenced Rodney Brossart’s three sons to one year of probation for menacing law enforcement officers. Their father was sentenced to three years.
Even though Judge Medd rendered the use of the Predator drone in order to arrest the farmer and his three sons "irrelevant" to the cattle-stealing case, criminals beware – the sky is watching.