While pumping narcotics and cash through the nation’s highway system, drug-trafficking organizations use GPS and cellphone-based trackers to protect their illicit cargoes, reports the Houston Chronicle. “There is no honor among thieves and even less trust,” said Jeffrey Scott of the Drug Enforcement Administration. “This kind of tracking device is a way for bad guys who don’t trust each other being able to work together.” Transponders have turned up stashed in loads in Texas, Alabama, Arkansas, and elsewhere as traffickers exploit legal technology to follow their valuable merchandise, which in the case of cocaine is worth more by weight than gold.
The hidden trackers can help criminal organizations determine whether a driver is lying about his whereabouts. Law-enforcement officers said they are seeing more and more of the tracking systems being used by criminals, as Skype, tablets, and other inventions are being embraced by society. They have ranged from sophisticated battery-operated trackers that can provide nearly up-to-the-second information and exact locations on laptops, tablets or other devices, to common cellphones, which permit tower triangulation to provide an approximate location, perhaps within a few blocks. Some trackers pinpoint precisely where a load is, how fast it is being driven, and can trigger a text message should it deviate from a pre-determined route.