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Drones used to distract FBI hostage rescue mission

Criminals used drones to disrupt the monitoring of a hostage situation, says the FBI. A top FBI official told a drone conference in Denver that criminals deliberately flew several small drones to block the rescue team’s view of an unfolding situation.

The drones caused the FBI to lose sight of the attacker. “We were then blind,” Joseph Mazel, the FBI’s operational technology law unit chief, told the AUVSI drone conference. According to military news site Defense One, which attended the conference, the hostage situation occurred over the winter in the outskirts of a large US city.

The FBI had set up an elevated observation post to monitor the hostage situation, and suddenly drones appeared, carrying out a series of “high-speed low passes at the agents in the observation post to flush them [out],” Mr Mazel said.

Criminal use of drones is rising, and its most popular use is for the smuggling of smartphones and drugs into prisons, according to the National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC).

In 2015, it was reported that criminals were using drones to scope out potential burglary targets in Suffolk, and, in 2017, news site Vice made a video documentary about people who were using heat-seeking drones to steal marijuana from illegal farms hidden in residential properties.

image: GETTY IMAGES.

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