The FBI has secretly used drones and unmanned aircraft to spy on and target suspected fugitives from justice, federal officials say.
Federal agents have used unmanned aircraft and drones to monitor and capture fugitives and fugitives’ associates, including a Florida man who was wanted for allegedly shooting and killing a former girlfriend, according to court documents.
The FBI has been using the aircraft to target fugitives for nearly two years, the documents say.
Feds are using drones to track suspects in the United States, but they are not authorized to use the aircraft.
The documents show the FBI used drones in July 2017 and August 2018 to monitor the suspected leader of a drug cartel.
The documents were released in response to a lawsuit filed by a group of former federal agents in federal court in Los Angeles, seeking to know whether the FBI has violated their constitutional rights by secretly using drones against people.
Federal prosecutors are seeking to use an injunction to stop the FBI from using drones on U.S. soil.
The lawsuit was filed in January 2018 by former agents Mark Hulsey, Mark Wiebe and Michael Schorr, and former FBI special agent Adam Mair, among others.
The defendants alleged the FBI violated the Fourth Amendment and their constitutional right to due process when it used drones during a drug-trafficking investigation in Southern California.
The case is U.P.S., No. 8-cv-01774.