Some criminals never know–until they see the charges against them–that law enforcement agencies have had important allies in making a case.

Law enforcement officers in southeast Missouri recently found a big indoor marijuana growing operation concealed behind a wall in a house. They located it because a National Guard helicopter hundreds of feet in the air used a heat-seeking device to locate the grow lamps being used in the secret room.

The National Guard has been working with local and federal agencies on criminal cases for more than 15 years.

Lieutenant Colonel Greg Mason with the Guard’s counter-drug program says military technology has civilian uses. He says part of that technology is the same thing the soldiers would use if they’re activated and sent to international hot spots.

It can be dangerous. On rare occasions somebody has taken a shot at a Guard chopper. Mason says the soldiers are not armed, so they don’t fire back.

The Guard also offers a criminal intelligence section to help law enforcement analyze evidence. He says using those skills here can pay off in analyzing information in international hot spots.


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