HomeNewsBriefUS Cracks Down on Drug Smugglers in Ultralight Planes
BRIEF

US Cracks Down on Drug Smugglers in Ultralight Planes

US/MEXICO BORDER / 15 DEC 2011 BY RONAN GRAHAM EN

Traffickers are increasingly using ultralight aircraft to transport drugs into the United States from Mexico, prompting the Senate to pass a bill aimed at clamping down on the use of the planes by drug traffickers.

In less than six months, US border officials have recorded more than 200 incidents of ultralight planes transporting drugs across Mexican border, reports El Universal. In May, a Senate press release revealed that the number of incidents involving ultralight planes had almost doubled in the last fiscal year.

Ultralight aircraft are favored by drug traffickers because they are difficult to detect by radar. They are also relatively inexpensive, quiet and can fly at night without lights. Traffickers frequently use them to make aerial drug drops under cover of darkness, without landing on US soil.

The Ultralight Aircraft Smuggling Prevention Act of 2011, sponsored by Senators Tom Udall and Dean Heller, was passed by Congress last week and will now be given to the US House of Representatives for consideration. "The current law has loopholes, and the traffickers who use ultralight aircraft receive minor penalties compared with those who traffic in planes or cars," said Heller.

However, despite the introduction of the new bill, US officials remain at a disadvantage in detecting the planes, and better techonolgy will be needed if the authorities are to cut down on their use.

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

COCAINE / 6 MAY 2022

The US has offered a $5 million reward for information leading to the arrest of leaders of the Montes Bobadilla…

GUATEMALA / 23 SEP 2021

The Jalisco Cartel New Generation, which has rapidly expanded to become Mexico's greatest criminal threat, may now be spreading its…

COVID AND CRIME / 12 JAN 2021

The coronavirus pandemic has forced migrant shelters in Mexico to close or limit capacity, exacerbating an already precarious situation for…

About InSight Crime

WORK WITH US

Open Position: Full Stack WordPress Developer

28 NOV 2022

As Full Stack WordPress Developer You Will: Work collaboratively with other developers and designers to maintain and improve organizational standards.Demonstrate a high level of attention to detail, and implement best…

THE ORGANIZATION

Join Us This #GivingTuesday in Exposing Organized Crime

24 NOV 2022

For over twelve years, InSight Crime has contributed to the global dialogue on organized crime and corruption. Our work has provided policymakers, analysts, academics, journalists, and the general public with…

THE ORGANIZATION

Like Crime, Our Coverage Knows No Borders

18 NOV 2022

The nature of global organized crime means that while InSight Crime focuses on Latin America, we also follow criminal dynamics worldwide. InSight Crime investigator Alessandro Ford covers the connections between Latin American and European…

THE ORGANIZATION

Using Data to Expose Crime

11 NOV 2022

Co-director Jeremy McDermott made a virtual presentation at a conference hosted by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC). The ‘Sixth International Conference on Governance, Crime, and Justice…

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime ON AIR

4 NOV 2022

InSight Crime Co-director Steven Dudley was interviewed for the podcast The Rosenberg Case: A Tale of Murder, Corruption, and Conspiracy in Guatemala, which explores the potential involvement of then president, Álvaro Colom,…