BEAUMONT, Texas, Feb. 10 -- Lawyers for the makers of a tracking device designed to detect guns, drugs and other contraband were expected to defend the device in court Saturday after an FBI agent told a Texas court it was phony. Federal prosecutors are seeking an injunction to stop the production and distribution of the Quadro Corp. Tracker, which has been ridiculed as little more than a plastic box fitted with an antenna.
FBI agent Mark Broome testified at a hearing before U.S. District Judge Thad Hartfield Friday that the Tracker never functions as advertised. The hand-held device, formally called a Positive Molecular Locator, was billed as being able to read the atomic signatures of drugs, weapons, ammunition, explosives and other substances. Tracker models sold from $395 to $8,000 each. Broome said about 1,000 Trackers had been sold to law enforcement agencies and school districts. The hype surrounding the sales campaign for the Tracker even snared a Houston federal prosecutor, who acknowledged last week that he was a distributor for the device. The Dallas Morning News reported Wednesday that Assistant U.S. Attorney Guy Womack was one of two assistant U.S. attorneys who reportedly distributed the device to school districts and law enforcement agencies. 'I intended no fraud,' Womack said. 'It's awfully embarrassing,' U.S. Assistant Attorney John Wagner reportedly lent money to Womack's distributorship but was not active in selling the device, a government source told the News. Womack said he obtained Justice Department permission to sell the device before fraud allegations arose in January. Broome testified Womack was convinced of the Tracker's efficacy when he traveled to the company headquarters in Harleyville, S.C., where company officials gave him a demonstration. Quadro officials could not be reached for comment Saturday.