USA wants to destroy Pablo Escobar’s old cocaine fields with killer drone army

Colombian drug cartels could face an unprecedented existential threat at the hands of AI, if US plans to target coca plantations with drones go ahead.

The US department of state reportedly wants to use unmanned aerial drones to spray coca plants across Colombia with powerful chemicals in order to destroy cocaine supplies at the source.

It has submitted a request to hand over the drones to Colombian police to 'support eradication operations throughout Colombia'.

The US government says it wants to use drones because it minimises the risk to police in the field who are typically tasked with identifying and destroying coca plantations.

These can often be protected by improvised explosive devices (IEDs) and ambushes, or even dangerous wild animals such as jaguars.

The request said: "Coca cultivation in Colombia remains at record highs and eradication operations in Colombia remain dangerous. INL Bogota is seeking to bolster the CNP's capability to increase the coca eradication rates and minimise the risk for police personnel in the field."

The request specifically stated that Chinese-made drones could not be used, owing to surveillance fears among the US government.

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The document says: "The system cannot contain major hardware (e.g. flight controller) flight control firmware, or mission planning software manufactured in China. THIS REQUIREMENT CANNOT BE WAIVED."

Drug cartels are still a major presence in Colombia, years after Pablo Escobar's Medellín cartel fell apart after its leader's death.

Last month, militiamen from the reigning Gulf Clan began retaliatory attacks following the arrest of their kingpin, Dairo Antonio Úsuga, aka Otoniel. Otoniel currently faces 120 criminal charges, including murder, kidnapping, sexual abuse of minors, terrorism, drug trafficking, and illegal possession of weapons.

Gulf Clan militia began blocking main roads in and out of towns in an 'armed strike', forcing all businesses to close and stopping all traffic.

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