Original Article - Valerie Chinn, WDRB News


Illegal crossings happen every day at the U.S.-Mexico border, and people are creative about how they plan it. They climb walls, wade rivers and dig tunnels.

But with that creativity comes a response from Customs and Border Protection agents. With this tool, Air and Marine Operations employees take to the sky.

Massive drones are part of the border agents' arsenal in 2020, and WDRB News was one of only two local television stations in the country to see how they work.

At the Fort Huachua military base in Sierra Vista, about 75 miles southeast of Tucson, the drones look from a distance like planes. The Predator B comes with a price tag of $11 million each.

"Our goal is to detect the drugs at the border before they reach inland," said Jose Muriente, director of Air an Marine Operations. "It's not quadcopter that you can buy at Best Buy. It's a real aircraft. It has radios. When we fly, we communicate with the FAA."

Muriente says, "You hear UAS , unmanned aircraft, a drone. That's the word you hear all the time."


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