What Did a Drug Dealer Use For Surveillance?

By Carlton Purvis, Published Jul 23, 2013, 12:00am EDT

The bad guys want video surveillance too. Recently, footage from a violent shootout caught on a Miami drug dealer's surveillance system was played in court. We were curious to know what he used. Given the amount of money and need for security that a drug dealer probably has, perhaps he used really high end, state of the art technology. We contacted the Miami-Dade State Attorney's Office and found out.

But first, here is the video of the shootout:

The Setup

The man who police say ran the grow house is drug trafficker Gerardo Delgado [link no longer available] (killed in the video). In addition to $90,000-worth of marijuana, police took part of the surveillance system. See the full evidence receipt for the system here.

Here is what he was using:

From the front porch police removed a Tasco motion camera and one SD card (~$63 on Amazon). Note: The surveillance video was shot from two angles, but police only took the equipment listed below. 

From a hall closet, they removed a Q-See S408 DVR with 500 GB of storage. The model usually comes with four or eight cameras starting a $399 on Amazon.  

Authorities Unable to Export Video

Get Notified of Video Surveillance Breaking News
Get Notified of Video Surveillance Breaking News

The Miami-Dade prosecutor's office says since confiscating the DVR in 2012, their video forensics specialists still have not figured how to export video from the system. They eventually gave up trying and set up a video camera to record the footage from a monitor at the house.

It is not clear to us why they would have such problems with such commonly available equipment.

Decidedly Low Tech

This is literally Costco grade, consumer equipment. Ironic, given the presentation of high technology that drug dealers and criminals have in the movies.

On the one hand, perhaps a drug dealer needs little more than this. A live view showing whether anyone is outside is likely good enough.

On the other hand, this is an example of the influence of the consumer channel. We doubt it is an accident that they used QSee, considering it is one of the most commonly available choices in discount and big box retailers.

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