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'Alarming' Number of Drone Incursions at the Southern Border

Mexican cartels are sending as many as 1,000 unmanned drones across the border every month, according to a Pentagon official, reports Cronkite News. The drones are sometimes used for smuggling drugs, but more often used to probe the border for weaknesses. U.S. Air Force Gen. Gregory Guillot told the Senate Armed Services Committee that countering these aircraft systems has "dominated" the first month of his tenure.

He said the majority of border drone encounters come from “spotters, trying to find gaps." Rep. Eli Crane (R-AZ) called cartels' use of drones "extremely alarming." In February 2023, Customs and Border Protection’s Gloria Chavez testified to the House Oversight Committee that her sector had “over 10,000 drone incursions and 25,000 at-the-border drone detections” over a year. Some lawmakers are trying to address the problem, with Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa introducing the Drone Act of 2023 last January that would criminalize flying a drone over the border. Sen. James Lankford (R-OK) introduced the Protecting the Border from Unmanned Aircraft Systems Act last May. Guillot told lawmakers that he does not believe the drones pose a national security threat, but said they could turn into one in the future.


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