US Marijuana Party

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

Colombian Air Force Destroys Suspected Drug Plane

BOGOTA, Colombia (Reuters) - A Colombian air force jet forced a U.S.-registered light airplane to land and then destroyed it because authorities suspected the plane was carrying illegal drugs, the air force said on Monday.

Crew from the King-200 twin-motor plane fled when it touched down in a rural part of Cesar Province. The air force Cessna A-37 destroyed the plane because it refused to identify itself, the air force said.

Under its U.S.-backed drug interdiction program, the Colombian air force has destroyed 19 drug smuggling planes since 2004. The United States suspended its assistance for two years after Peru shot down a plane and killed a U.S. missionary and her young daughter following a tip-off from the U.S. military in 2001.

Colombia says intelligence from U.S. reconnaissance planes is key to stopping the flow of cocaine. Colombia is the world's largest producer of the drug and proceeds from the trade buy bullets for Marxist rebels and far-right paramilitaries fighting a war that claims thousands of lives a year.


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