HomeNewsBriefGuatemala to Install Anti-Drug Flight Radar
BRIEF

Guatemala to Install Anti-Drug Flight Radar

GUATEMALA / 3 FEB 2015 BY ARRON DAUGHERTY EN

Guatemala's plans to install anti-drug flight radar could further increase drug traffickers' heavy reliance on maritime routes.

Following the approval of a $36 million loan, Guatemala's Defense and Civil Aviation ministries bought three Spanish-made radar units. The units will expand Guatemala's 15-year old civil radar system, allowing authorities to identify clandestine aircraft and block drug trafficking air routes, Defense Minister Manuel Lopez Ambrosio told Prensa Libre.

The two ministries have begun testing the first radar unit and expects all three to be operational in July. Guatemalan authorities are likely hoping to replicate reported success in Honduras, where security forces claim to have eliminated drug flights, through the use of radar.

InSight Crime Analysis

Guatemalan policy makers are probably eager to highlight any possible advances they might make against transnational drug trafficking -- especially given the general elections that will be held this September. However, rather than having a significant impact on the amount of drugs flowing through Guatemala, it's likely the radar will only encourage traffickers to move more drug shipments by sea.

Latin American criminal groups rely heavily on maritime trafficking routes, and there are already a few examples of traffickers switching to sea routes in the face of increased air security. Guatemala is a key transit point for drugs being smuggled northward, and already has some of the region's most sophisticated trafficking organizations operating there, including the Zetas and Sinaloa Cartel. These groups will undoubtedly find a way to overcome any challenges posed by increased air monitoring and keep the product flowing.

SEE ALSO: Honduras News and Profiles

Interdiction is another issue worth considering. A new radar system may better allow Guatemala's authorities to identify suspicious aircraft -- however, authorities must then successfully track that aircraft, and, should it refuse calls to land and cross a border into another country, Guatemala must have the necessary relationships in place with neighboring security forces, in order to continue following the plane. The technological ability to detect the plane in the first place is really only the first step in halting aerial drug trafficking.

Currently, Guatemala has a no "shoot-down" law in place, which would allow security forces to shoot down suspected drug flights. These have proven controversial across the region -- last year, the US suspended sharing intelligence from its radars with Honduras, when the Central American country approved a shoot-down law.

share icon icon icon

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

What are your thoughts? Click here to send InSight Crime your comments.

We encourage readers to copy and distribute our work for non-commercial purposes, with attribution to InSight Crime in the byline and links to the original at both the top and bottom of the article. Check the Creative Commons website for more details of how to share our work, and please send us an email if you use an article.

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

Related Content

GUATEMALA / 20 DEC 2022

Increased security on land borders is forcing more migrants to enter Mexico from Guatemala by sea, running the risk of…

GUATEMALA / 4 FEB 2022

A former Guatemala mayor and his family have been accused of smuggling more than a dozen migrants later massacred in…

CARIBBEAN / 11 FEB 2022

Latin American countries scored poorly on Transparency International’s latest corruption index, with the worst joining the ranks of war-torn nations…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

Europe Coverage Makes a Splash

20 JAN 2023

Last week, InSight Crime published an analysis of the role of Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport as an arrival hub for cocaine and methamphetamine from Mexico.  The article was picked up by…

THE ORGANIZATION

World Looks to InSight Crime for Mexico Expertise

13 JAN 2023

Our coverage of the arrest of Chapitos’ co-founder Ovidio Guzmán López in Mexico has received worldwide attention.In the UK, outlets including The Independent and BBC…

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Shares Expertise with US State Department

16 DEC 2022

Last week, InSight Crime Co-founder Steven Dudley took part in the International Anti-Corruption Conference organized by the US State Department’s Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, & Labor and…

THE ORGANIZATION

Immediate Response to US-Mexico Marijuana Investigation

9 DEC 2022

InSight Crime’s investigation into how the legalization of marijuana in many US states has changed Mexico’s criminal dynamics made a splash this week appearing on the front page of…

THE ORGANIZATION

‘Ndrangheta Investigation, Exclusive Interview With Suriname President Make Waves

2 DEC 2022

Two weeks ago, InSight Crime published an investigation into how Italian mafia clan the ‘Ndrangheta built a cocaine trafficking network from South America to ‘Ndrangheta-controlled Italian ports. The investigation generated…