ATALAIA DO NORTE, Brazil (AP) — Brazilian federal agents aboard three helicopters descended on an illegal mining site on Tuesday in the Amazon rainforest. They were met with gunfire, and the shooters escaped, leaving behind an increasingly familiar find for authorities: Starlink internet units.
Starlink, a division of Elon Musk’s SpaceX, has almost 4,000 low-orbit satellites across the skies, connecting people in remote corners of the Amazon and providing a crucial advantage to Ukrainian forces on the battlefield. The lightweight, high-speed internet system has also proved a new and valuable tool for Brazil’s illegal miners, with reliable service for coordinating logistics, receiving advance warning of law enforcement raids and making payments without flying back to the city.
Agents from the Brazilian environment agency’s special inspection group and the federal highway police rapid response group on Tuesday found one Starlink terminal up and running next to a pit, an officer who participated in the raid told The Associated Press. He spoke on condition of anonymity over concerns for his personal safety.