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Border Patrol grounds aerial drones
Arizona Daily Star ^ | 01/25/05 | Michael Marizco

Posted on 01/25/2005 5:08:59 PM PST by SandRat

After nearly a year in operation, the United States is pulling its Unmanned Aerial Vehicles off the Arizona border, grounding the drone planes to weigh their effectiveness.

The two UAVs - RQ-5 Hunters made by Northrop Grumman Corp that can fly up to 100 mph for half a day - cost $1 million apiece and were introduced into the Arizona desert in October, said Mario Villarreal, U.S. Border Patrol spokesman in Washington, D.C.

The two Hunter planes succeeded two Israeli-made Hermes 450s that cost about $2 million each and helped nab 965 illegal entrants and about 850 pounds of marijuana, said Andrea Zortman, spokeswoman for the agency's Tucson sector. The Hermes started flying in April 2003 as part of the Arizona Border Control Initiative.

By comparison, the Hunters helped apprehend 287 illegal border crossers and helped seize 1,889 pounds of marijuana from Oct. 1 to Jan. 23, she said.

In all, the Border Patrol made nearly 500,000 apprehensions in the Tucson Sector last fiscal year.

Zortman attributed the low number of apprehensions to the slow season for illegal migration but said the videos the drones recorded helped prosecute drug traffickers.

The Border Patrol has not decided when to start the program back up, though it will likely resume this year, Villarreal said.

The unmanned aerial vehicles were a popular choice last year when the agency launched its $15 million Arizona Border Control Initiative to help secure the state's border with Mexico.

With cameras and night vision, the drones joined 260 new agents and four new helicopters in Arizona and were assigned the task of patrolling areas that were difficult for agents on the ground to reach. Agents then monitored the downloaded data and sent the information out to agents to respond in desert areas that were easier to reach.

The drones did not do the job of old-fashioned "boots on the ground" patrol work, said Mike Albon, spokesman for National Border Patrol Council, Local 2544, the local union.

Noting that agents and manned air assets such as the agency's Black Hawk helicopters seized more than 148,000 pounds of marijuana and apprehended more than 100,000 people in the same time frame, Albon suggested the agency might be better served by spending its budget for unmanned aerial vehicles on more agents and better equipment.


TOPICS: Crime/Corruption; Extended News; Foreign Affairs; Front Page News; Government; News/Current Events; US: Arizona; US: California; US: New Mexico; US: Texas; War on Terror
KEYWORDS: aliens; border; bordersecurity; dhs; domesticdrones; drones; dronesbp; dronesus; illegals; immigrantlist; immigration; otms; pot; security; uav

1 posted on 01/25/2005 5:09:00 PM PST by SandRat
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To: Ragtime Cowgirl; Radix; HiJinx; Spiff; JackelopeBreeder; Da Jerdge; MJY1288; xzins; Calpernia; ...

Border Security ping.


2 posted on 01/25/2005 5:09:28 PM PST by SandRat (Duty, Honor, Country. What else needs to be said?)
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To: SandRat
Welp, they aren't apprehending anyone while grounded and the AZ star just told the illegals as much.
3 posted on 01/25/2005 5:15:09 PM PST by mylife (The roar of the masses could be farts)
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To: SandRat
Site Meter
seems nuts that they would ground them...
4 posted on 01/25/2005 5:16:08 PM PST by KMC1
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To: KMC1
hmmm... hardly. they're grounded because they work
5 posted on 01/25/2005 5:18:16 PM PST by xcamel (Deep Red, stuck in a "bleu" state.)
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To: Poohbah
Boots-on-the-ground ping.
6 posted on 01/25/2005 5:19:48 PM PST by Chemist_Geek ("Drill, R&D, and conserve" should be our watchwords! Energy independence for America!)
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To: SandRat
Albon suggested the agency might be better served by spending its budget for unmanned aerial vehicles on more agents and better equipment.

Translation: " The union wants us to hire more union goons and not replace union-dues-generating people with cost-effective unmanned assets."

7 posted on 01/25/2005 5:20:06 PM PST by TXnMA (Attention, ACLU: There is no constitutionally protected right to NOT be offended -- Shove It!)
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To: SandRat

It always nice to get new equipment and technology. However none of that means very much when the Administration and the Border Patrol do not have the will to properly secure the border. Get rid of the politically correct policies and we will have a secure border not to mention a huge savings to the taxpayer.


8 posted on 01/25/2005 5:24:04 PM PST by Ajnin
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To: KMC1
and the BP Head of the Tucson Sector is if not certifiable, at least a cheap, politically PC toady.
9 posted on 01/25/2005 5:25:42 PM PST by SandRat (Duty, Honor, Country. What else needs to be said?)
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To: SandRat
$680,000 worth of pot, and $37,840,000 worth of illegal economic damage - I think the drones more than paid for themselves.
10 posted on 01/25/2005 5:26:58 PM PST by xcamel (Deep Red, stuck in a "bleu" state.)
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To: SandRat; JackelopeBreeder
This was so predictable.

ABP flies their drone withing spitting distance of the testing grounds at Fort Huachuca and shames the SUBP into coming up with their own version (a year later and at vastly higher cost).

Then, when public confidence swings to the agency in favor of continuing to support ABP, cut the program.

I wonder how long they're going to allow more illegals into the country before they figure out that the drones were effective.

11 posted on 01/25/2005 5:27:48 PM PST by Carry_Okie (The environment is too complex and too important to be managed by central planning.)
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To: Ajnin
The Border Patrolman on the ground love the UAVs and they are doing their jobs as best they can to catch the illegals. It's the political toadies (almost all Civil Service left overs from Bubba) and the Law Yers (again Silly Sybil Seer vice types and "Immigrants Rights" read ACLU) that are frustrating things.
12 posted on 01/25/2005 5:31:02 PM PST by SandRat (Duty, Honor, Country. What else needs to be said?)
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To: Carry_Okie

It will take another 9/11 to get them back in the air.


13 posted on 01/25/2005 5:31:45 PM PST by AppyPappy (If You're Not A Part Of The Solution, There's Good Money To Be Made In Prolonging The Problem.)
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To: Carry_Okie
Well they forgot one thing the Minute Man Project is going to watch, report (all illegals and what the BP does with the information) all that goes on. So far they have over 250 volunteers coming to the Tucson sector to do just that and the Me.Ch.A. folks are having a hissy fit.


14 posted on 01/25/2005 5:34:36 PM PST by SandRat (Duty, Honor, Country. What else needs to be said?)
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To: SandRat

One of the Minuteman Project Coordinators - maybe Jim Gilchrist - was on with Sean Hannity this afternoon. I couldn't listen to the whole segmen, but what I heard of it was great.

He invited any and all media to come out and see ground truth for themselves.


15 posted on 01/25/2005 5:42:14 PM PST by HiJinx (www .ProudPatriots.org ~ Operation Valentine's Day ~ 1/1/05 to 1/21/05)
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To: SandRat
grounding the drone planes to weigh their effectiveness.

Why would you have to "ground" them to judge their effectiveness? You could just look at the apprehension statistics and see.

There are areas along the border that are off-limits to patrolling due to environmental sensitivities, and it is in precisely these areas that smugglers operate, at least in some cases. And it is in these areas that people die, again in some cases. These robot craft allow us to patrol these areas with no environmental impact at all, and will almost certainly save lives if they haven't already saved lives.

Shutting down this program makes no sense at all except in the most perverse way.

16 posted on 01/25/2005 5:51:14 PM PST by marron
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To: AppyPappy
It will take another 9/11 to get them back in the air.

I hope your not right about that, but I fear that you are right. Especially the tone in our great gubmnt. Did ya hear murdering Ted Kennedy today acting as a "defense lawyer for al queda (Rush's quote)".

17 posted on 01/25/2005 5:52:29 PM PST by Clovis_Skeptic (Islam is a religion of peace my as@)
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To: HiJinx
It was Gillcrest and he not only invited the media he invited Sean in particular and any law enforcement types. Said they were not vigilante's and he want the world to see and Washington to get the message load and clear.
18 posted on 01/25/2005 5:57:03 PM PST by SandRat (Duty, Honor, Country. What else needs to be said?)
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Comment #19 Removed by Moderator

To: marron
You made a couple of statements that bear further comment.

...areas along the border that are off-limits to patrolling due to environmental sensitivities...True and it the watERMELons that cry to high heaven and threaten courts action if the BP goes and at the same time sues in Court because the Government isn't protecting the environment.

...it is in precisely these areas that smugglers operate...Yes it is and they leave an unbelievable amount of trash and bio-hazardous material behind.

Ask Jackelopebreeder about the crap left behind and how many get turned in from UAVs (well at least the ones from the ABP UAVs that embarrassed the BP to come up with its own).

20 posted on 01/25/2005 6:20:30 PM PST by SandRat (Duty, Honor, Country. What else needs to be said?)
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To: SandRat

Just perfect timing as more and more reports are coming out about Muslims infiltrating the US from Mexico. We are are own worst enemy and will pay dearly for our farsical HLS.


21 posted on 01/25/2005 6:36:53 PM PST by Wolfhound777 (It's not our job to forgive them. Only God can do that. Our job is to arrange the meeting)
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To: Carry_Okie

I was part of the Hunter UAV development effort almost 10 years ago when we were literally testing them to destruction. They have been used extensively in the Balkans and Iraq with great success. I can only wonder what is now being further evaluated.

I'd say the biggest problem with their tests have been poor choices of target areas. I have only seen them twice in close proximity to the border -- one time each for the Hermes and the Hunter. However, I've seen them many times way north.


22 posted on 01/25/2005 7:21:19 PM PST by JackelopeBreeder (Proud to be a mean-spirited and divisive loco gringo armed terrorist vigilante cucaracha!)
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To: SandRat

Thanks for the ping!


23 posted on 01/25/2005 7:36:38 PM PST by Alamo-Girl
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To: SandRat
What, they got tired of watching them cross over by the tens of thousands?

I guess now they are going to resort to David Drier's plan?


24 posted on 01/25/2005 7:40:41 PM PST by BJungNan (Cut government spending 3 percent, get the same job done.)
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To: BJungNan

Read later.


25 posted on 01/25/2005 8:01:14 PM PST by JustAnotherSavage (When conservatives break their principles they seem to become casual about breaking the law, too.)
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To: SandRat

if they get grounded somebody got paid.


26 posted on 01/25/2005 8:04:07 PM PST by longtermmemmory (VOTE!)
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To: SandRat

bump!


27 posted on 01/25/2005 9:21:27 PM PST by Calpernia (Breederville.com)
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To: SandRat

Bump!


28 posted on 01/26/2005 3:26:44 AM PST by windchime (Podesta about Bush: "He's got 4 years (8!) to try to undo all the stuff we've done." (TIME-1/22/01))
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