A DEA owned Beechcraft twin-turboprop King Air (costing from $1.45 to $2.6 million) had its hangar contract voided at Toluca Airport outside Mexico City because the plane—long used for “elite-level ops” in drug enforcement—is seen as no longer serving a useful function.
“Hugs, not bullets,” reflects the latest in a string of political embarrassments for the Drug Enforcement Administration. That’s the latest message from Mexico’s President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador (AMLO) concerning the drug war:
…AMLO stated that his administration “cared for” cartel members just as it did for soldiers in the nation’s armed forces, because the criminals “are also human beings.”
The DEA’s Vigil also pointed out that the populist president AMLO has a track record of hampering U.S. law enforcement programs in Mexico as part of his “Abrazos no Balazos” [“Hugs not Bullets”] campaign, which aims to take a softer approach than his predecessors to organized crime.
“The first three years of President Lopez Obrador’s administration have been disastrous for the DEA. He has placed limitations on the activities of the agency, eliminated the Sensitive Investigative Unit, dismantled Plan Merida and now the most recent blow involving the DEA aircraft,” said Vigil, who added that AMLO has also reneged on diplomatic immunity for U.S. agents. […]
The dismantling of Plan Merida must come as a severe shock to U.S. politicians and all other drug war Beechcraft turboprop elitists who staked their professional careers on the scheme’s success. This is not to say the King Air 300 is a bad choice of planes just because the DEA owns one. With its short takeoff or landing capabilities, top speed of 368 mph at 28,000 feet, range of 1570 miles, maximum payload capacity of 2570 pounds, and service ceiling of 35,000 feet, it’s obviously an excellent aircraft for smuggling contraband.
One use for the Beechcraft that would go a long way toward cleaning up the DEA’s public image would be for the agency to recommission its plane to transport cannabinoid medicinals and psilocybin mushrooms or spores to remote areas where they would be greatly welcomed by traumatized indigenous populations. Call it Operation Drug Peace. Citizens currently living in the battered Ukraine would top the list for a first delivery.