Neighbors found it strange that no one seemed to live in the spacious, typical American family home in Lewiston, New York, a small town located on the Niagara River, east of Ontario, Canada.
Whoever owned the $650.000 property didn't seem to live there or care about maintenance, with his lawn unmowed to the point where it was "unmanageable," locals later told police. Even stranger, the officers were told, were the monthly arrivals of people driving expensive cars, only for the guests to leave a few days later.
Then, in the early hours of September 21 last year, the house was raided by the authorities. In the middle of the night, using a surveillance tool that could “identify drone signatures, map their flight path and locate start and stop points via GPS,” the Border Patrol watched an unmanned aerial vehicle fly over the river Niagara and inside the home's garden, according to the warrant.
When officers arrived, the pilot and two other people tried to escape but were arrested and taken in for questioning. Police found that a package of MDMA, with a market value of approximately $110.000, was attached to the drone. A subsequent search of the home turned up multiple cameras monitoring entrances and exits, a number of commercial drones and paracord, a type of rope originally designed for parachutes.
Η υπόθεση αποκαλύπτει την επένδυση της κυβέρνησης στην παρακολούθηση με μη επανδρωμένα αεροσκάφη, ιδίως στα σύνορα. “Οι φορείς των συνόρων είναι πολύ καλύτεροι σε αυτό”, δήλωσε η Mary-Lou Smulders, επικεφαλής μάρκετινγκ στην εταιρεία Dedrone, ανάδοχο εταιρείας ανίχνευσης drone, η οποία παρέχει υπηρεσίες σε διάφορες ομοσπονδιακές κυβερνητικές υπηρεσίες των ΗΠΑ.
Investigators in the Niagara River search likely used radio frequency signals to tag and locate the UAV, Smulders said. This involves installing sensors in a specific area and triangulating the drone's signals to find a relatively precise location.