New drone to scour U.S. coast for smugglers


Reuters
December 8, 2009

Editor’s note: Not for illegal immigrants, of course, but drug smugglers and guns the government says are purchased at gun shows.

[efoods]Federal border police will soon launch an unmanned surveillance aircraft with marine radar to patrol the coastline for drug smuggling boats, authorities said on Monday.

The remote-controlled plane acquired by the Customs and Border Protection agency is an adapted and unarmed version of the Predator drones built by California-based General Atomics Aeronautical Systems Inc and flown by the U.S. military in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Customs spokesman Juan Munoz-Torres said the new drone, able to stay aloft for up to 20 hours, will be used to scour the Pacific, Caribbean and Gulf coasts for drug smugglers.

“The aircraft that we received today … gives us the ability to go after the drug traffickers in transit and source zones,” Munoz-Torres told Reuters after a public unveiling in Southern California.

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