Honduras Takes Down Cocaine-Carrying Planes

By Allison McCabe 01/20/14

A new law authorizes the Honduran Air Force to shoot down planes suspected of bringing cocaine to the U.S.

Honduran Armed Forces Photo via

Honduras is using a new tactic to combat drug trafficking through the Central American country: shooting down aircraft that may be carrying drugs. The Honduran Air Force has been authorized to fly a plane next to any suspicious flights, particularly those traveling at 5,500 meters and at less than 550 kilometers per hour, since "these are the characteristics of the planes that have no flight plan and the aircraft almost 100 percent are carrying drugs," according to Honduras's former security minister. The suspicious plane would be given instructions to land and then would be checked. If the plane refused to follow the instructions, the Honduran Armed Forces would have the right to shoot them down. The law states: “If an unidentified, unauthorized aircraft is detected, it will be subject to the progressive use of force, starting with investigation, persuasion and then the elimination of the threat as a last resort.”

Honduras has an increasing problem with drug-related violence and is rated by the U.N. as the country with the highest rate of homicide. The Honduras Air Force has taken down at least two planes which were suspected of carrying cocaine to the United States in 2012 and now the government is buying three Israeli radars in order to better detect these traffickers.

The new law was passed by 85 members of Congress, according to Reuters.

Please read our comment policy. - The Fix

Allison McCabe is the editor in chief of The Fix. She has written for LA Weekly, Village Voice, Junk: a literary fix, Ramshackle Review, Main Street Journal and others. Follow Allison on Twitter.