by Katarina Hall
The U.S. Border Patrol said that smugglers are using drones to spy on its agents along the U.S.-Mexico Border between San Diego and Tijuana.
“They’re gathering intelligence, they’re doing counter-surveillance on our agents, they’re trying to see our work patterns, how many agents and what they’re doing,” said Border Patrol Agent Diana Ibarra in a recent bulletin published by the federal agency. “They’re working to try and find any possible vulnerability and exploit those.”
She added that the use of drones for such purposes is not an isolated incident.
“It’s definitely become a trend here in the San Diego Sector,” Ibarra said. “We’ve detected where they’re just flying along on the south side of the border. We’ve also detected them when they fly north.”
Border Patrol agents discovered the use of drones after an investigation in January led them to a stash house in National City, California, near the San Ysidro Port of Entry. Within the stash house, agents discovered several video clips of Border Patrol agents apprehending migrants.
According to the agency, the footage was captured by small unmanned aircraft systems to observe the agent’s movements and actions when they encounter a group of migrants.
“This technology provides transnational criminal organizations with new capability that they are eager to exploit,” said Agent Aaron M. Heitke, San Diego Sector Chief Patrol Agent.
Ibarra said that the agency will be on the lookout for additional drones and will intercept them whenever they are spotted.
“We’re equipping our agents with tools necessary in order to detect these drones and to interdict them and take them custody of them,” she said.
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Katarina Hall is a reporter at ADNAmerica.
Photo “Drone” by Callum Hilton.