Loopholes In FAA Registration Process Empowers Drug Traffickers’ Operations

The Senate recently released a report, showing loopholes in the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) registration process which notorious drug traffickers used to expand their operations.

The co-chair of the Senate Caucus on International Narcotics Control, Rep. Chuck Grassley (R-IO), pointed out that criminals are using the FAA to conduct their nefarious operations.
“While Americans rely on the Federal Aviation Administration to provide smooth transport from point A to point B, criminals are taking advantage of the system to transport illicit goods and make a profit,” Grassley said in a press release.

“The FAA’s stubborn habit of rubber stamping registrants leaves the door open for drug traffickers and would-be terrorists to wreak havoc in the U.S. and abroad. FAA’s failure is contributing to the drug crisis, burdening law enforcement and creating a major national security risk,” the Iowa congressman added.

Just the News noted that the report details that notorious cartels are taking advantage of the FAA process by registering American planes to use in their illegal drug trafficking schemes.

It comes after the Government Accountability Office (GAO) listed 15 recommendations for the FAA to improve its registration process, pointing out that the agency had only used three of the five methods since 2020.

The Senate’s latest report indicates that air transportation is “a favored method” for cartels since it is effective for concealing their drug trafficking operations.

“Transnational Criminal Organizations (TCOs) often use opaque corporate structures to conceal their drug transportation activities,” the report states. “Air transportation is a favored method for the cartels and a burgeoning industry of illicit aircraft brokers has grown up around it.”

“These brokers exploit vulnerabilities and loopholes in the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) aircraft registry process to place U.S.-registered planes in the hands of TCOs,” it adds.

The Senate’s report noted that American planes are “desirable” since they are subjected to less scrutiny from foreign governments and are effective at hiding nefarious activity.

“The FAA’s registry is supposed to serve as a source of information for agencies responsible for homeland security, but blind spots in the FAA registration process create serious security risks,” the report continued.