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Man Accused of Selling Raven, a U.S. Spy Plane, on Ebay

Hand-launched Drone Contains Surveillance Cameras

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Is it too easy for people to get hold of U.S. military equipment for resale? For example, a man was arrested and charged with illegally selling an unmanned U.S. spy plane known as the Raven, the U.S. attorney’s office in Tampa, Florida, said March 28. A grand jury indicted the man, 47, of Manila, Philippines, March 10 on charges he sold the Raven to undercover federal agents on Ebay. He faces up to 20 years in federal prison if convicted of smuggling and violating the Arms Export Control Act. The man was arrested when he came to Los Angeles, California, in February. The Raven is a 4 pound plane equipped with three cameras that U.S. troops use for battlefield surveillance. It can be taken apart and carried by troops and then reassembled for use. According to the U.S. attorney’s office, agents with the Homeland Security Department found out last May the man was offering a Raven for sale on Ebay for $13,000. They exchanged messages with him over several months, and he sent the Raven to them in separate packages in exchange for the money, officials said. Uniquely, the Raven can be hand launched and it is being tested at certain U.S. ports and military bases for patrolling as well as by a handful of U.S. city police forces.