Drug Smugglers Use Ultralight Aircraft On Border


Drug smugglers increasingly are using one-person motorized “ultralight” aircraft that resembles a hang glider to get narcotics across the U.S.-Mexican border, says USA Today. Michael Kostelnik, a Customs and Border Protection (CBP) official, says they fly low under cover of darkness and are harder to see on radar than larger planes. The agency has intercepted three drug-hauling ultralights since October. “This is a new twist,” Kostelnik says. “You’re really at war with drug cartels on this. They change tactics, and we have to change tactics in the same way.”

The Department of Homeland Security has beefed up border enforcement, adding agents, fencing, cameras, and other detection technology. There are 18,000 Border Patrol agents, compared with fewer than 11,000 five years ago. There are 608 miles of vehicle and pedestrian fencing, compared with about 140 in 2006.

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