The Miami-Dade Police Department recorded a suspected drug deal with an unmanned aerial drone – the first time the police agency has used a drone to capture an alleged criminal act.
The drone footage was first authorized by a judge who allowed police to use the device, which is being viewed as a potential new tool for police surveillance.
“This is the first time that a police agency sets up a drug buy with an informant, films the whole thing with a drone, and they did it with the authority of a judge,” said Albert Quirantes, a Miami criminal defense attorney. “[That’s] what made it legal in this case.”
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Birds-eye images taken with the drone followed a man walking into a house in NW Miami-Dade back in October. Police say another angle then captured Andre “Dread” Scott allegedly selling cocaine to a police informant out of his backyard.
After getting a search warrant, 31-year-old Scott was found in the rear utility shed and was taken into custody.
Detectives also hauled in a mix of drugs like crack cocaine and marijuana as well as multiple guns and ammunition.
The videos will now be put into evidence for the case.
State legislators are currently considering whether to expand the use of police drones, but there are concerns about privacy.
“If they pass a law, the law is going to probably provide standards so that everybody is treated fairly and impartially by the police when they do effectuate those drone arrests,” Quirantes said.
Records show that Scott had violated his probation for drug charges in the past. He is currently in jail.