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Border Patrol's Newest Tool? VADER On A Drone


A military sensor with a movie villain name is helping law enforcement agents nab people trying to enter the United States illegally.

The frighteningly named VADER, for "Vehicle And Dismount Exploitation Radar" was first put to use tracking insurgents over a wide area in Afghanistan. With the war winding down, VADER has come home, joined the border patrol, hooked up with a Predator drone, and gone looking for people illegally crossing the United States-Mexico border.

What VADER found was remarkable. Over a three-month stretch, VADER helped "find and detain 1,874 people in the Sonora Desert." The radar detected an additional 1,962 people that Border Patrol couldn't catch. While earlier congressional investigative estimates had put the border patrol's success rate at 64 percent, VADER reveals that the total number of crossings is much greater (and therefore the success rate actually lower).

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