Drone Farmer Arrest: Predator Provided Evidence in ND Standoff

Wednesday, 29 Jan 2014 11:17 AM

By Alexandra Ward

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A North Dakota farmer and his family who were all arrested after an armed standoff with police in 2011 were convicted with help from evidence gathered by a Predator drone.

It started in June 2011 when a neighbor called police to report that Rodney Brossart of Lakota, N.D., would not return the cattle that had strayed from the neighbor's home onto the Brossart property. Police arrested Brossart, who resisted and fought them, and an armed standoff ensued when the farmer's family refused to let officers search the property, according to the Grand Forks Herald.

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The standoff eventually broke up and warrants were issued for Brossart's three sons, who had pointed weapons at officers. But after months of the suspects not showing up for scheduled court dates, Nelson County Sheriff Kelly Janke decided to take drastic measures — he called up the U.S. Border Patrol and dispatched a Predator drone to capture surveillance of the Brossarts' farmhouse.

It's not clear how long the drone was used to gather evidence but the sheriff's office arrested five Brossart family members in November 2011, Fox News reported.

Rodney Brossart was sentenced last week to three years in prison, with all but six months suspended for the charge of terrorizing police officers. His 20-something sons — Thomas, Alex, and Jacob — struck a deal with prosecutors and each pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of menacing law enforcement officers. If they each complete a year of probation, the charges will be dismissed, the Herald reported.

"I recognize that I should have handled the situation differently," Rodney Brossart said in court last week. "I take responsibility for my actions and I will do what I can to ensure it won't happen again."

The case drew widespread national attention because the Brossart family's defense attorneys tried to have the terrorizing and menacing charges dropped because evidence was gathered by a drone without a search warrant.

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