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Polinske & Associates, P.C.

Recently I have received discovery from the State in drug trafficking/distribution cases where drones have been used along with GPS tracking devices by the Illinois State Police (MEGSI)

After receiving voluminous discovery on what I believe to be a routine controlled buy case I viewed discs titled "AOPS."  I had not seen that labelling on a disc from the State previously.  After viewing it was obvious that the video was taken from a drone.  The drone was deployed over a mile away from where it began tracking a device planted by police on my client's vehicle.  The State had obtained an eavesdrop authorization from the States Attorney and used it to affix and track the GPS device.  The drone footage was taken from approximately 540 feet above ground so the video depicts an image of a vehicle but the driver is not discernable.  Neither is the license plate.  However, the tracking device and testimony from in person surveillance can easily tie the vehicle to a defendant.  The drone information on the disc contains the GPS location, above ground distance in feet, time, bearing, and other info.  I'm not sure how this would work had it been night out.  

I don't know what the maximum distance might be for the drone to cover.  However, the farthest point on the disc showed over one mile away from the deployment area.

This technology may create more evidence against defendants facing delivery or possession with intent/trafficking cases.  


Currently, FAA rules under Part 107 allow for operations of Unmanned Aircraft.  Restrictions upon operation contain items such as visual line of sight, no operation from moving vehicle (unless in sparsely populated area), only daytime operation, no operation over 400 feet above ground level, total operational weight of 55 lbs., etc.  The case law governing is found in U.S. v. Jones, 565 U.S. 400.  The supreme court 

Brian L. Polinske
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