The federal government has spent more than $86 million on a drug surveillance airplane that is four times over budget and has yet to fly, according to a report issued Wednesday by the Justice Department's inspector general.
The Drug Enforcement Administration bought the ATR 42-500 aircraft for $8.6 million in 2008. It was intended to be ready three years ago, equipped to conduct counter-drug operations in Afghanistan, at a projected cost of $22 million.
"We found that more than seven years after the aircraft was purchased for the program, it remains inoperable, resting on jacks in Delaware," said Inspector General Michael Horowitz.
The DEA says it now plans to use the plane, once it's ready to fly, for operations in Central and South America and the Caribbean.