#TrueNews : Drug gang suspected of using drones to spy on police in Australia

Police are increasingly using drones to monitor criminal suspects, but in Australia, the criminals are suspected of using drones to monitor the police. 

An international drug gang consisting of four Australians, one Briton and two Canadians were arrested by Australian police for smuggling in three large bags of cocaine from Panama with a estimated street value of $30 million, police said.

The men were arrested in different locations during the course of several police raids around Melbourne and were subsequently charged with drug trafficking and money laundering.

In addition to the $30 million in cocaine, police found cash worth approximately $446,000 in U.S. dollars. 

The suspected drug traffickers appeared to have worked hard to avoid getting caught and went so far as to use aerial drones to conduct counter-surveillance when they would meet "to see if anyone, like law enforcement, was watching" said Commander John Beveridge of the Australian Federal Police.

Usage of drones by criminal suspects to conduct surveillance on police isn't new, Beveridge explained, but not common, either.

"This syndicate did deploy it quite often," said. "It did cause the surveillance staff to initiate procedures and methodologies to defeat it. These syndicates are getting a lot more sophisticated, and so are we. We've just got to be awake to it."

In the U.S., law enforcement groups like the Drug Enforcement Agency have been dealing with drones for years due to their use by Mexican drug cartels along the U.S.-Mexico border.

The first cases of drones being used by cartels to monitor U.S. law enforcement authorities along the border were reported in 2012. Since then, they've continued to be used and in at least one case, were used to physically fly drugs over the border.

Since then, Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) created the Tethered Aerostat Radar System, known as TARS to look for drones flying along the U.S.-Mexico border. The system consists of eight blimps between Arizona, Texas and Puerto Rico that looks for aircraft flying too low, which are likely to be drones.

"Raising radar and other sensors to high altitude boosts surveillance range, and the physical sight of an aerostat is a visual deterrent to illegal activity in the air and on the ground," said Richard Booth, director of domain operations and integration for CBP's Office of Air and Marine.

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