Authorities look for source of mysterious Midwest drone sightings – USA TODAY

Authorities searched for the source controlling unmanned, mysterious drones spotted flying around northeastern Colorado and Nebraska at night since last week.

Though it’s unclear how the drones are operated, federal, state and local law enforcement agencies suspect that a command vehicle in the area – probably a closed box trailer with antennae or a large van – controls the drones, according to a Facebook post from the Phillips County Sheriff’s Office in Colorado.

Morgan County Sheriff David Martin hosted a closed-door meeting Monday in Colorado.

The agencies arranged a task force to investigate, according to the Phillips County Sheriff’s Office.

Sheriff’s representatives from Yuma and Phillips Counties denied a request by USA TODAY for further comment.

The agencies asked the public for assistance identifying the drones’ origins.

No one has answers:Mysterious drones fly around the Midwest, Great Plains

Last week, sheriff’s offices in the region received calls notifying them of unknown flying devices after initial reports from Yuma and Phillips Counties. 

Flying in grid-like formation in groups of six to 10, the drones have 6-foot wingspans and come out during the evening, flying in airspace controlled by the federal government. The Federal Aviation Administration, the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Air Force and the Army Forces Command said they don’t have any information on the drones. 

The drones are not believed to be malicious, the Phillips County Sheriff’s Office said.

The FAA contacted several airports in the area, cautioning pilots about the drones and asking them to report any sightings.

Rep. Adrian Smith, R-Neb., expressed concerns about the drones and their unclear origins. “We must protect the privacy and property rights of Nebraskans,” he said in a statement.

Amazon, Paragon Geophysical Services, the U.S. Geological Survey, the Colorado Department of Transportation and UAV Recon denied connections to the drones, according to the Denver Post. 

The FAA announced a proposed rule last month that would ensure all drones registered by the agency have remote identification technology.

As of December, more than 1.5 million drones were registered with the FAA.

Contributing: Adrianna Rodriguez, USA TODAY; The Associated Press

Follow Joshua Bote on Twitter: @joshua_bote

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