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Senators: Stop Canadian border drug flow

Feb. 10, 2011 at 7:24 PM

WASHINGTON, Feb. 10 (UPI) -- Six U.S. senators Thursday urged federal officials to go high-tech in combating increased airborne drug smuggling across the U.S.-Canadian border.

The Democratic border-state senators asked in a letter to Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano and Defense Secretary Robert Gates to deploy military-grade radar technology to spot aircraft being used by drug smugglers.

The letter signed by Sens. Herb Kohl, D-Wis., Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, Bob Casey, D-Pa., Jon Tester, D-Mont., Charles E. Schumer, D-N.Y., and Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y.

The radar equipment was used from 2005 to 2008 during Operation Outlook, a pilot program cooperatively run by the two departments, to stop smugglers.

Operation Outlook used sophisticated military radar near the border in Spokane, Wash., to intercept low-flying aircraft that would not have been caught with methods now used by Homeland Security.

"This is about using all available resources to prevent drug smuggling on our northern borders," We have the technology to prevent drug smuggling from low-flying aircraft, now we need to use it," Brown said in a release.

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