07:07 GMT18 February 2020
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    US Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson is being urged to request help from the Department of Defense to obtain drones to police the US-Mexican border for drug smuggling, US Senator John McCain said.

    WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — In a letter to Johnson on Tuesday, McCain described US drone flights along the border in training exercises conducted from a nearby US Army base.

    Because the exercises are not coordinated with the Department of Homeland Security, a valuable tool to stop smuggling is being wasted, McCain explained.

    "[I] strongly urge that you make this request for support to the [Department of Defense] immediately and begin coordinating with Ft. Huachuca [Army base] to take advantage of these available air assets as quickly as possible," McCain wrote in the letter.

    The United States generally restricts the use of military assets in civilian law enforcement. However, an exception is made for anti-drug operations provided the Defense Department receives a formal request from the responsible US drug-interdiction agency.

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