April 8, 2013
The U.S. Border Patrol has caught a fraction of the border crossers spotted by a sophisticated sensor mounted on unmanned spy aircraft and flown over remote stretches of desert, casting doubts on claims that the area is more secure than ever, according to documents obtained by the Center for Investigative Reporting.
The border crossers were spotted with a new, all-seeing radar system developed for use in the Afghanistan War and patrolling above the U.S.-Mexico border in parts of Arizona since March 2012. The system can reveal every man, woman and child under its gaze from a height of about 25,000 feet.
Between October and December, records show, the remotely operated aircraft detected 7,333 border crossers during its Arizona missions. Border Patrol agents, however, reported 410 apprehensions during that time, according to an internal agency report. The sensor was credited with providing surveillance that led to 52 arrests and 15,135 pounds of seized marijuana.