Local July 13, 2012 | 7:37 am

US Predator in Dominican airspace for more than a month: Listin

Santo Domingo.- Stealthy but effective, the remote controlled "Predator" plane, the United States’ satellite intelligence jewel, has been operating in Dominican Republic airspace for more than a month looking for ships and aircraft trying to smuggle drugs into the country, listin.com.do reports.

The information surfaces the very day Santo Domingo and Washington will sign an agreement to formalize and expand the Predator’s operations in the country and in Puerto Rico.

During her brief visit to Santo Domingo U.S. Homeland Security secretary Janet Napolitano and Dominican Foreign minister Carlos Morales are slated to sign the agreement Friday, after which the US official also plans to visit Puerto Rico’s antinarcotics authorities.

Citing intelligence sources, Listin said the Predator has been operating in and around Dominican territory, handled by two control centers in Santo Domingo, managed by US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and the local National Drugs Control Agency (DNCD).

Together with the Super Tucano intercept planes of the Dominican Air Force, the Predator’s intelligence gathering capability is key to interdict drug laden ships and aircraft.

The news outlet adds the Predator’s operations are kept secret and uses a minimal but well vetted staff, whose work is supported by US spy satellites to guarantee the unmanned drone’s maximum efficiency.

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