WASHINGTON — The federal Department of Homeland Security will deploy military-grade radar on the northern border, which officials say will help stop airborne drug smuggling.
Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano announced the decision in response to a request from Sen. Charles E. Schumer, the senator's office said Wednesday.
Mr. Schumer, D-N.Y., had outlined his request in a conference call with reporters, saying drug smugglers elude capture by flying aircraft below where typical radar can detect them. Military-type radar will detect those aircraft, he said. Mr. Schumer was responding to a U.S. Government Accountability Office report detailing that weakness along the U.S.-Canadian border.
Only 32 of more than 4,000 miles of the border are secure, the GAO found.
"These recent shocking GAO reports make it clear that we have a long way to go when it comes to securing our northern border and keeping drugs out of bordering states, and fortunately deploying this military-grade radar technology on the front lines has already proven effective in detecting low-flying planes that can be chock full of illegal drugs," Mr. Schumer said in a press release.