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May 4, 2018

A Criminal Gang Used a Drone Swarm To Obstruct an FBI Hostage Raid

Posted by in categories: drones, law enforcement

And that’s just one of the ways bad guys are putting drones to use, law enforcement officials say.

DENVER, Colorado — Last winter, on the outskirts of a large U.S. city, an FBI hostage rescue team set up an elevated observation post to assess an unfolding situation. Soon they heard the buzz of small drones — and then the tiny aircraft were all around them, swooping past in a series of “high-speed low passes at the agents in the observation post to flush them,” the head of the agency’s operational technology law unit told attendees of the AUVSI Xponential conference here. Result: “We were then blind,” said Joe Mazel, meaning the group lost situational awareness of the target. “It definitely presented some challenges.”

The incident remains “law enforcement-sensitive,” Mazel said Wednesday, declining to say just where or when it took place. But it shows how criminal groups are using small drones for increasingly elaborate crimes.

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