Family arrested after drone surveillance may avoid prison time

GRAND FORKS, N.D. (AP) — A northeastern North Dakota farmer involved in a summer-long standoff with law enforcement in 2011 has struck a plea deal with prosecutors that could keep him and his family from serving prison time. The county sheriff involved in the case wants it to go trial.

Rodney Brossart, 56, of rural Lakota, is accused of resisting arrest, damaging a law enforcement vehicle and threatening deputies in the standoff that began as an investigation into missing cattle, intensified when family members ignored repeated orders to appear in court, and ended with arrests in which authorities used an unmanned drone to conduct surveillance.

Three of Brossart’s sons are accused of pointing rifles at deputies and a daughter is accused of assaulting a deputy. Brossart’s wife, Susan, was accused of lying to authorities.

Rob Port is the editor of In 2011 he was a finalist for the Watch Dog of the Year from the Sam Adams Alliance and winner of the Americans For Prosperity Award for Online Excellence. In 2013 the Washington Post named SAB one of the nation's top state-based political blogs, and named Rob one of the state's best political reporters. He writes a weekly column for several North Dakota newspapers, and also serves as a policy fellow for the North Dakota Policy Council.

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