Honduras destroys illicit airstrips
By Dialogo March 15, 2012
TEGUCIGALPA, Honduras – The Honduran military has found at least 62 illegal landing strips used by narco-traffickers to transport drugs from South America into the United States since February, said René Osorio, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff of the Honduran Armed Forces.
The campaign, named Operation Armadillo, began last month and is in a constant “planning-and-execution stage,” Osorio said.
“This current operation started in the department of Gracias a Dios and afterward we travel to the departments of Olancho and Colón, in the eastern part of the country with explosive specialists,” Osorio told local media.
In Olancho, the country’s biggest department, the army destroyed 25 airstrips, as well as 12 in Gracias a Dios, 10 in the department of El Paraíso and 15 in Colón, according to local media.
The found airstrips were in good condition and operational, Osorio added.
“This indicates that drug trafficking organizations use them frequently, maybe even as much as one or two times a week,” Osorio said. “It is common for drug flights to have three alternate landing sites, so that if one is deemed too risky the pilot can reroute to either of the others in midflight.”
Honduras is one of the 14 nations participating in “Operation Martillo,” a joint effort between European and Western Hemisphere nations to tackle illicit trafficking on both coasts of Central America.
The joint effort intends to disrupt organized crime operations by limiting their ability to use Central America as a transit zone.