US Drones Quietly Spy on Mexico Drug Lords

Flights kept hush-hush because they're probably illegal
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 16, 2011 7:48 AM CDT
US Drones Watch Mexico Drug Lords
A Northrop Grumman RQ-4 Global Hawk unmanned aircraft is pictured on July 22, 2010.   (Getty Images)

The Obama administration has begun sending high-altitude spy drones deep into Mexican territory to keep an eye on the movements of drug traffickers, the New York Times reports. The information is intended to be shared with Mexican law enforcement, and Felipe Calderón formally agreed to the flights in his March 3 meeting with President Obama, but they’ve been kept secret because of legal and political considerations in Mexico.

Mexico’s constitution forbids foreign militaries to operate within its territory except in extremely limited situations, so it’s possible the flights are illegal. Calderón also worries that the public might view them as encroaching on Mexican sovereignty. But the Global Hawk drones the Pentagon is using fly too high to be seen from the ground, and the flights have already proved useful, helping Mexican authorities track down several suspects in the death of American ICE agent Jaime Zapata. (More spy drones stories.)

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