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Thu, Mar 17, 2011

UAVs Go South Of The Border In Drug Wars

Obama Administration Deploys Unmanned Aircraft Deep Into Mexico

In an effort to collect intelligence in the killing of a U.S. Immigration and Customs agent, the Obama administration has begun to deploy high-altitude Global Hawk UAVs in Mexican airspace. U.S. military officials say information gathered by the Homeland Security aircraft will be handed over to Mexican authorities investigating the case.

File Photo

The New York Times reports that Mexican President Felipe Calderon agreed to the flights in a meeting March 3rd with President Obama. The pact had been kept under wraps due to Mexican political concerns about sovereignty, but officials on both sides speaking on condition of anonymity confirmed the overflights, saying it pointed to increased cooperation between the two governments in fighting illegal drugs.

The agreement came after President Calderon expressed concern to President Obama that his country was being targeted by American drug and weapons consumption, and urged the U.S. leader to do more to help. Mr. Obama reportedly said he was "eager" to take a more central role in combating illegal drugs, as well as guns. The two said there was a "shared responsibility" in fighting the criminal entities on both sides of the U.S./Mexican border.

Officials of both countries have said that Mexico requested U.S. assistance in the form of the UAVs. The number of overflights by the Global Hawks is classified, but they can fly as high as FL600 and cover some 40,000 square miles in a day.



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