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Drone buzzes Customs and Border Protection helicopter near Tucson, FBI investigating

DJI Inspire 2 drone. (Sven Teschke/Wikimedia Commons)

The FBI is seeking the public’s help to identify the operator of a drone launched near Tucson that buzzed a Customs and Border Protection helicopter earlier this year.

The drone appeared to take off from a site about five miles south of the city, then began “flying dangerously close” to the federal aircraft, the agency said.

The incident took place around 10:30 p.m. Feb. 9, the FBI said in a May 20 news release. It was not immediately clear why the agency waited three months to make the case public.

After launch, the remote-controlled craft “flew across Tucson and north over Marana,” the agency said. “Multiple law enforcement agencies” spent hours that night trying unsuccessfully to track down the drone’s operator.

No one was injured and no other similar incidents have been reported involving this specific drone.

It’s a federal crime for an unmanned aircraft to interfere with the flight of a manned aircraft. “It is possible the drone operator(s) are not aware they are violating the law” the FBI said.

Anyone with information is asked to call the FBI at (623) 466-1999 or file a tip online at tips.fbi.gov

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