Unidentified modified UAV has worried the US CBP and FBI

WASHINGTON, (BM) – An incident earlier this year in the skies over Tucson worried the US Customs and Border Protection or CBP and prompted the FBI to launch an investigation, BulgarianMilitary.com has learned.

What happens on February 9, 2021? A journalist from a local TV station was the first to report on the strange incident over Tucson. According to him, US CBP employees are beginning to monitor an unidentified heavily modified drone that flies at too high an altitude – 14,000 feet or nearly 4,300 meters. At one point in the chase, the unknown aircraft was too close to the helicopter of the CBP officers.

BulgarianMilitary.com reminds you that at the moment, there is no unmanned aerial vehicle on the world civilian trade market that can fly at such a height. This fact suggests that the drone may not have been a civilian.

Some experts are liaising with the Davis-Montan military base on the outskirts of Tucson. It is known that there is a brigade there that operates aircraft, helicopters, and planes, but there is no information that this drone took off from the base. Also even stranger is the fact that the drone was flying in airspace heavily controlled by the US military due to the proximity of the military base.

The FBI is investigating

The Federal Bureau of Investigation has already launched an investigation into the incident. This information became apparent from an interview with an FBI agent by journalist Dan Marries of KOLD News. According to the FBI agent, the drone performed “strange maneuvers in the air,” which was why at one point, it gets too close to the CBP helicopter.

The FBI is now asking for the public’s help for any information related to the incident. A FBI statement, reads in part:

The Federal Bureau of Investigation is seeking to identify the person(s) responsible for illegally flying a drone near a U.S. Customs and Border Protection helicopter. On February 9, 2021, at 10:30 p.m., employees of CBP informed the Tucson Police Department that a drone was flying dangerously close to their helicopter. Over the next few hours, multiple law enforcement agencies worked to locate the drone’s operator but were unsuccessful. The drone appeared to launch from an area about 5 miles south of Tucson and flew across Tucson and north over Marana. No one was injured and no other similar incidents have been reported involving this specific drone.

In 2018, The Federal Aviation Administration Reauthorization Act included 18 USC 39B, which federally criminalizes “Unsafe Operation of Unmanned Aircraft.” Specifically, knowing or reckless interference or disruption of a manned aircraft, and the operation of unmanned aircraft in close proximity to airports. While the drone(s) did not come into direct contact with an airplane or cause a pilot to make an evasive maneuver, the actions are illegal and extremely dangerous.

Anyone flying a drone as prohibited by law can face federal criminal charges, fines, and imprisonment. It is possible the drone operator(s) are not aware they are violating the law. We encourage anyone with information to assist in this investigation to contact the FBI at 623-466-1999. Tips can also be reported to tips.fbi.gov.

When operating a drone, the FBI encourages the public to abide by federal and state laws. You can learn more at faa.gov/uas/.

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We remind you that the United States has already introduced some restrictions on the use of unmanned aerial vehicles. This happened with an order of the federal authorities at the beginning of the year, which restricts foreign-made drones and any drones that are close to the so-called sensitive objects.

Many military analysts in the United States, mainly the current military, say the use of civilian drones “is a new threat” to national security because there is no absolute control over them. Apart from the fact that these unmanned aerial vehicles can cause the usual disturbing actions among civilians, such as loud noise, noise, and buzzing, they can threaten commercial and passenger aircraft if their use is close to airports.

This case is not an isolated one

What happened in the skies over Tucson is not an isolated case and is yet to be investigated by the FBI. In Southern Arizona in 2018, too high a flying object was also reported, and in 2019 a drone was too close to the Palo Verde nuclear power plant in Arizona.

Mexican drug cartels also use unmanned aerial vehicles to transport drugs from Mexico to the United States. But more dangerously, these drug organizations have learned to use drones not only as a means of transport but also as an explosive-laden kamikaze.


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