US Sending Unarmed Drones Over Mexico to Track Cartels

It's no secret that the bloody, escalating and extremely disturbing "drug war" in Mexico between cartels, law enforcement and other cartels has got US hackles' raised (though  not enough to consider legalizing marijuana yet).

Still, it's gone a bit further than usual. This morning the New York Times breaks the news that we've been sending spy drones over Mexico to aid their crackdown on cartels and killers:

The Pentagon began flying high-altitude, unarmed drones over Mexican skies last month, American military officials said, in hopes of collecting information to turn over to Mexican law enforcement agencies. Other administration officials said a Homeland Security drone helped Mexican authorities find several suspects linked to the Feb. 15 killing of Jaime Zapata, a United States Immigration and Customs EnforcementImmigration agent.

President Obama and his Mexican counterpart, Felipe Calderón, formally agreed to continue the surveillance flights during a White House meeting on March 3. The American assistance has been kept secret because of legal restrictions in Mexico and the heated political sensitivities there about sovereignty, the officials said.

Before the outbreak of drug violence in Mexico that has left more than 34,000 dead in the past four years, such an agreement would have been all but unthinkable, they said.p> 

AlterNet / By Sarah Seltzer

Posted at March 16, 2011, 5:09am

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