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Drug Radar Net Failed to Snag Single Trafficker in 1991


January 1993

A highly touted $2 billion drug interdiction radar on the Southwestern U.S. border failed to catch even a single drug trafficker in 1991, according to a study by the Houston Chronicle reported in the Dallas Morning News recently (AP, "Drug Radar Net Called Ineffective: Informant Says System Touted by Customs Service is Easily Penetrated," Dallas Morning News, 11/10/92, 20D).

Drug pilots are easily able to evade capture, even if detected, by flying in at low altitude, dropping drug bundles near the border, and turning back quickly to Mexico, according to a federal informant quoted in the story. Only highly inexperienced pilots are deterred by the system, the informant said. Although Customs agents defended the antidrug radar, they conceded that it is virtually impossible to interdict airborne smugglers using the drop-and-run technique.