Border Patrol cameras helping agents catch smugglers
TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) - With the scorching summer heat, more smugglers may be looking to move people and drugs at night. But Border Patrol agents are combating their efforts with high-powered technology.
A camera, far above an ever-changing border, is changing the way the Border Patrol does its job. It's a mobile surveillance system with quite a few bells and whistles, including radar that looks and runs like something one might expect to see in an air traffic control center. All the equipment is military-grade technology. When it comes down to it, agents said it's a force multiplier.
"You can take one agent and he can scan an area that would normally have taken ten agents to scan," said Agent Eric Cantu. "He'll have a clear picture of a map, and he'll have hits on the map that tell him where possible activity can be. Then what he can do is click on a camera and it moves to the area where he sees movement."
Border Patrol is also utilizing a scope truck, complete with two cameras, one with heat-seeking technology. It's often used at night.
"The technology is giving us an advantage to see places we have not seen before. To cover areas that were previously very difficult to cover," Agent Cantu said. "If agents find themselves in a spot where they can't get one of these trucks into place, they can essentially use a high-powered pair of binoculars--essentially offering the same tools including heat-seeking technology. And that's what unique about this, is they can also operate from up to half a mile away by another agent."
According to Agent Cantu, since the trucks were introduced three years ago, they have helped stop more drugs and illegal immigrants from crossing the border.