HomeNewsBriefUS Navy Testing Drones to Track Caribbean Drug Trafficking
BRIEF

US Navy Testing Drones to Track Caribbean Drug Trafficking

CARIBBEAN / 30 APR 2013 BY MIRIAM WELLS EN

The US Navy has begun testing new aerial equipment to detect and monitor drug trafficking in the Caribbean, an example of the technological advances being employed in regional crime fighting.

As the Associated Press reported, the equipment includes large blimps equipped with cameras and sensors that can detect and identify ships from up to 50 miles away, as well as unmanned aircraft known as drones, meant to obtain photos and video of suspicious vessels spotted by the blimp.

The technology has been extensively used by US Customs and Border Protection and the military, but never before by the Navy. Rear Admiral Sinclair Harris, commander of the Navy's Fourth Fleet, said that the devices would be used to compensate for a series of budget cuts, which will limit the number of US Navy ships on patrol in the Caribbean. 

InSight Crime Analysis

Drones have been employed in the fight against drug trafficking by the US for a number of years, with the first known testing of such a device taking place off the coast of El Salvador in 2009. Various Latin American countries have followed suit. Drones have not only been employed to catch drug traffickers, but have been used to monitor criminal activity in Rio de Janeiro's favelas, the illegal exploitation of natural resources in remote parts of Brazil, and the energy infrastructure targeted by left-wing rebels in Colombia's conflict.

The camera-equipped blimps, also known as aerostats, is a newer development, first tested last August along the Mexico-US border. As reported by InSight Crime, the use of the aerostats is an attempt to recycle equipment from the Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts, where the devices were used for surveillance around military bases. They are much cheaper to operate than drones, and thus may prove to be a useful tool for US security institutions -- including the Navy -- operating under a more constrained budget. 

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.

Tags

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

CARIBBEAN / 26 SEP 2022

The cocaine coming from France's territories of Guadeloupe, Martinique, and French Guiana to its mainland have doubled.

CARIBBEAN / 10 MAY 2021

High-ranking officials in the Dominican Republic are accused of siphoning millions of dollars in state funds through a religious non-profit,…

CARIBBEAN / 18 OCT 2022

What would the impact be of proposed United Nation sanctions on Barbecue, leader of Haiti's G9 gang?…

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,…