Investigation Reveals DEA Flying Surveillance Planes in US Using Fake Companies
A report from The North Star Post has revealed the existence of a fleet of surveillance aircraft operated by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) that has been flying over various locations within the United States, as well as foreign destinations (the North Star Post is the publication started by journalist Sam Richards, who originally broke the story about the Federal Bureau of Investigations operating similar surveillance flights).
According to The North Star Post, the DEA does not obtain warrants for surveillance of public locations within the United States or in “foreign environments.”
“The United States Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) is operating a fleet of surveillance aircraft over locations within the United States as well as ‘foreign environments,’” according to Jeffrey Stramm, a special agent in charge of DEA aviation division.
The Administration does not “get warrants for public space surveillance,” Stramm said in a phone call with The Post. He went on to say this surveillance program is “in accordance with Title 21 United States Code.”
Although Stramm would not confirm the number of aircraft that make up the fleet, The Post’s investigation identified 92 aircraft as of 2011. According to an Office of the Inspector General (OIG) report, the FY2010 budget for DEA aviation operations was $47.6 million. The report also stated that the DEA employed 108 Special Agent Pilots as of June 2011.
The report found the DEA has registered 30 aircraft to a post office box in Houston, Texas under the corporation “Silver Creek Aviation Services.” Other than the P.O. box and the registration, there is no proof the company actually exists. This would match previous reports that revealed the FBI was also operating surveillance flights registered under fake company names such as “FVX Research.”