People keep finding new use cases for drones. Over the last few years, we have seen drone pilots collect whale snot and herd sheep with help from unmanned aircraft. But, did you know that drones are now also used to guide cocaine-laden narco jets to illegal airstrips in a Guatemalan rainforest? Yes, apparently that’s a thing now as well.
Drones guide narco jets to illegal airstrips in Guatemalan rainforest
Over the weekend, I came across this article in the Washington Post in which they explain how drones are used to guide cocaine-laden narco jets to illegal airstrips in a Guatemalan rainforest.
The news outlet describes how in Laguna Del Tigre National Park in Guatemala illegal airstrips are created and how they’ve become a critical part of the drug trade.
“The planes arrive in the middle of the night, their lights off, guided by drones, unsteady under the weight of the drugs”, The Washington Post describes. “They descend over Mayan ruins, over camps of jaguar researchers and ornithologists, over illegal settlers and ranchers.:”
The ongoing cat-and-mouse game between the United States and the drug cartels in Latin America have shifted to this national park along the northern border of Guatemala. The wildlife reserve has become a no man’s land where temporary airstrips are created to allow the narco jets that can carry over $100 million of cocaine to land. According to the article, ninety percent of the cocaine consumed in the US now travels through Guatemala.
Drones apparently play an important role in guiding the narco jets to these illegally created landing strips and in keeping an eye on military activity in the area. A ranger said that about once a week they can hear drones fly over their base in the jungle.
You can read the entire article here [paywall].
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Photo credit: Daniele Volpe for The Washington Post