Investigation Reveals DEA Flying Surveillance Planes in US Using Fake Companies

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Top Tier Gear USA

Editor’s Note: Isn’t the FBI also spying on us with their own little plane fleet while Congress looks the other way as well? And the U.S. Marshals Service. At this point, which government agency isn’t spying on us in some way via our skies? Might be a shorter list…

FBI spy plane

A report from The North Star Post has revealed the existence of a fleet of surveillance aircraft operated by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) that has been flying over various locations within the United States, as well as foreign destinations (the North Star Post is the publication started by journalist Sam Richards, who originally broke the story about the Federal Bureau of Investigations operating similar surveillance flights).

According to The North Star Post, the DEA does not obtain warrants for surveillance of public locations within the United States or in “foreign environments.”

The Post reports:

The United States Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) is operating a fleet of surveillance aircraft over locations within the United States as well as ‘foreign environments,’” according to Jeffrey Stramm, a special agent in charge of DEA aviation division.

The Administration does not “get warrants for public space surveillance,” Stramm said in a phone call with The Post. He went on to say this surveillance program is “in accordance with Title 21 United States Code.”

Although Stramm would not confirm the number of aircraft that make up the fleet, The Post’s investigation identified 92 aircraft as of 2011. According to an Office of the Inspector General (OIG) report, the FY2010 budget for DEA aviation operations was $47.6 million. The report also stated that the DEA employed 108 Special Agent Pilots as of June 2011.

The report found the DEA has registered 30 aircraft to a post office box in Houston, Texas under the corporation “Silver Creek Aviation Services.” Other than the P.O. box and the registration, there is no proof the company actually exists. This would match previous reports that revealed the FBI was also operating surveillance flights registered under fake company names such as “FVX Research.”

Following the revelations on FBI surveillance flights, the bureau held a confidential briefing with Congress to explain the program. Government officials present at the briefing told the AP the operation was standard operating procedure and had only been used five times in five years. Despite the program being unclassified, the FBI declined to release details on how many spy planes are in operation. The bureau did reveal that around 85 percent of the aircraft use infrared cameras. The remaining 15 percent use binoculars for surveillance.

Regarding the DEA flights, Stramm told the Post that registering planes under fake companies provides “a level of protection” against “the bad guys.” Unfortunately, the DEA’s aviation division does not allow their aircraft information to be tracked by air traffic sites, so the locations of the flights are relatively unknown. Because of this, it is relatively difficult to ascertain what type of surveillance equipment was attached to the planes. The Post did report that photos of DEA planes appear to show cell site simulator technology, or advanced imaging technology, attached to the body of the aircraft. This would confirm suspicions that these aircraft are outfitted with cell phone surveillance tools known as “Stingrays” or “Dirt Boxes.”


In late 2014, the Wall Street Journal revealed the existence of a cell-phone monitoring program operated by the U.S. Marshals Service using small planes. The program involved the Marshals using Cessna planes mounted with Stingrays (for more information check out this Guide to Stingray Technology).

In response to the spy plane revelations, the ACLU filed a Freedom of Information request with the FBI, DEA, and U.S. Marshals Service seeking information about these flights. They also filed a FOIA request with the FAA to attempt to obtain the flight plans.

While the public remains largely ignorant of the extreme level of surveillance in the United States, the situation seems to be escalating quickly. Jay Stanley of the American Civil Liberties Union believes the technology could already be used in tandem with drone aircraft. The results he said, would be a “nightmare scenario for drones: wide-area mass surveillance and location tracking of entire cities and towns.”

I wrote recently about ARGUS, the high-flying drone technology capable of capturing super-high-definition video of a 15-square mile area and automatically tracking all moving vehicles and people within that area,” he said.

Now that the DEA’s surveillance flights have been revealed, Americans have an even clearer picture of the Surveillance State. Planes operated by federal agencies using fake companies are flying above American skies, possibly using infrared imaging, stingrays, or drones to monitor the movements and gather cellphone information from the unaware public below. This is the reality for the American population in 2015. What will you do to combat the growing police and surveillance states? When will you draw your line in the sand?

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Contributed by Derrick Broze of The Anti Media.

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  • Mike

    It is time that Americans as a whole file a class action lawsuit against every government agency for all of their violations of our rights, liberties and freedoms.

  • LiberalsRLost

    well how comforting that we are being protected (sic) from the bad guys ….well back to my nfl game later folks…./s

  • What do we need the DEA for again?

    • Someguy

      Easy question. Answer is to keep the drug war alive, imprison non-violent pot heads, sell drugs/guns to criminals while helping to destabilize countries not playing ball.

    • RandyJ/ProudSurvivor

      And to launder $$ for some of the governments un-Constitutional black ops.

      • LiberalsRLost

        YO….bof yah’ll head of the class…magna… now laude……pleeze…

  • RandyJ/ProudSurvivor

    Every day it becomes more clear-Americans will run out of rope before they’ll run out of treasonous bastards worthy of a hanging.

  • We~see
  • ccambridge

    Can we make a game for money like shoot the spy out of the sky

  • The oppressors must all be removed from power!

  • csbubba

    OK, Seems I am on the right track after reading this. I live
    near a military airbase for over 30 years, unfortunately. So am use to jet traffic, and we have always seemed what was heavy training. I am 20 miles from base and can hear them testing engines up all night at times during the week. I know the sounds a helicopter makes, both single and double rotor, but they are a rarer occurrence. The county had and old copter like a bell-47 for skeeter checking. Now for the last 2 months we have a host of single engine and a few twin engine planes flying a lot. Like I said very few “civilian” planes flying as most of county is for the military air space. I spend a lot of time outdoors,
    as where my work is, so I notice different aircraft sounds and usually look, I am under a flight path to the base. Have been trying to see if I could find out why so many small aircraft, not drones, have been flying lately and why, well I guess I might know now. Will have to keep binoculars and spotting scope handy in shop as to see if I can get a look at some of them to see if any extra items.I have not had a chance to see if they are landing/using the base, they are surrounded by tree, and only a very small area to see one end of field from
    road. Will have to question a few people who work there to see if I can get some intel

    The wife said I was getting paranoid as to wondering why so
    many smaller aircraft flying in what has been predominantly military air space.I’ll have to show her this article.

  • Tom Sawyers

    With all resources the DEA has, why are the American street’s flooded with heroin.

    • ..and why is Ibogaine, the cure for heroin addiction, illegal!