Yo, what’s good? This is Dan and I’m here to dish out some juicy news for all y’all tech heads out there. So, word on the street is that the DEA used an Apple AirTag as a surveillance tool for the first time ever. That’s right, fam, you heard me. According to insiders in the tech industry who know what’s up, this is the first time a federal law enforcement agency has used an AirTag to track someone’s movements.
Here’s how it went down: back in May 2022, U.S. border security agents found a package from Shanghai that seemed hella suspicious. It had a pill press and some pill dyes in it, and they thought it might be meant for illegal drug manufacturers. So they hit up the DEA and let them know what was up.
The DEA peeps took a closer look at the package and decided to plant an AirTag inside the pill press before letting it continue on its way to its intended destination. Then they used the device’s Bluetooth-enabled location tracking to follow the pill press all the way to where it was supposed to go.
Now, we don’t know why the DEA chose an AirTag over other surveillance tech they have access to. But according to court documents, one federal agent said that having “precise location information” for the pill press would help them gather evidence about where drugs and drug money might be stored, where controlled substances are obtained, and where they’re distributed.
Brady Wilkins, a retired detective with the attorney general’s office in Arizona, thinks maybe the DEA was trying out something new after other tracking tech didn’t always work so well. He says AirTags are easier to hide and less likely to be discovered by suspects, who are getting better at dodging surveillance tactics. Plus, AirTags seem to have better connectivity than other trackers out there.
Now, you might be thinking: “So what? AirTags are just those little things people use to find lost stuff, right?” Well, yeah, but they’re also starting to be used for some shady stuff. Stalkers, for example, have snuck AirTags into their victims’ belongings to keep tabs on them from afar.
And after those stories hit the news, Apple added some features to make it harder to use AirTags without someone knowing. iPhones can now tell you if an unknown AirTag is around, and the device itself will start beeping if it’s away from its owner for too long.
But like Jerome Greco, a big shot lawyer at the Legal Aid Society, says: if something can be used for surveillance or investigation, you better believe the cops are gonna try it out. He thinks AirTags and other trackers are a cause for concern because they can be abused pretty easily.
We don’t know how useful the AirTag was to the DEA’s investigation, or if they even got anything worthwhile out of it. All we know is that they were able to track the package containing the pill press for 45 days in Massachusetts and any other state in the US. The person who got the package wasn’t charged with any federal crimes, but apparently they’re facing charges in state court.
That’s all we know for now, my dudes. The DEA and Apple aren’t giving out any more info. But keep your eyes peeled (especially if you’re carrying an AirTag) because you never know what kind of sneaky stuff the feds might be up to. Peace out!