Cartels make routine use of drones to track CBP at border; U.S. scrambles for response

Cartels make routine use of drones to track CBP at border; U.S. scrambles for response
President Trump visits the U.S. border in Texas on 10 Jan 2019. CBC video

[Ed. – Right now the drone user has the advantage. It creates more danger to try to take out the drones kinetically, and even if it didn’t, most couldn’t be taken out with gunfire.  Deterring use by going after the drone controllers on Mexican territory is not an option, at least for now.  Most counter-drone techniques are about jamming the control comms, but there’s no doctrine for all this.  Interestingly, laser technology isn’t mentioned in the article.  A pretty good treatment of the overall topic is here.  Ingenuity in this situation will be a seminal factor in how the use of drones progresses across the board, including for benign civilian purposes.]

The use of drones by cartels operating at the southern border is not new, but what started as a rare occurrence five years ago has become constant. …

Drones lurk above agents who are on foot, in their vehicles, on an ATV, or on a horse. Mexican smugglers who are moving drugs or people use the devices to determine where agents are not present and can then send something or someone across the border without being detected. Other drones may be loaded with a few ounces to a kilogram of narcotics and flown to the U.S. side, then the drone can drop it for the next mover to pick up and transport deeper into the country.

The problem for agents is that drones can fly hundreds of feet overhead, which allows the unmanned aerial systems to go unseen, especially at night, and unheard. The agency knows they are a growing problem, but it is impossible to shoot them down with a gun, and they do not have the legal authority to use other measures to seize them.

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