A group of U.S. senators from northern states are urging the U.S. military deploy its advanced radar technology along the 4,000-mile border with Canada to stem the flow of illegal drugs from that country into the United States.
Sens. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio; Bob Casey, D-Pa.; Kirsten E. Gillibrand, D-N.Y.; Herb Kohl, D-Wis.; Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., and Jon Tester, D-Mont., sent a letter to Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano urging the use of the technology.
“We have the technology, we know it works. It’s just plain common sense to put it to use along the northern border,” Schumer said. “In recent years, international drug lords have devised new, devious ways to smuggle drugs into our country. When we plug one loophole, they always find another.”
The latest “loophole” being use to smuggle drugs are small, private planes flying at low altitudes across the border, according to Schumer. “Far more planes than we previously thought are flying under our current radar system, chock-full of illegal drugs,” he said.
Schumer said 450 percent more ecstasy and increased amounts of heroin, cocaine and marijuana are smuggled over the northern border than across the Southwest border into the United States. The use of military-grade radar has helped law enforcement officials in Spokane, Wash., crack down on more drug-trafficking operations, he added.
That technology needs to be deployed as soon as possible, so when those planes land in the United States, “law enforcement is there waiting to put the drug smugglers behind bars," Schumer said.
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Both sides must agree to a spending bill by March 4 to avoid a government shutdown.