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Blimp Will Patrol Above Puerto Rico

January 6, 1999 GMT

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (AP) _ Puerto Rican police are buying a new unmarked vehicle _ a 200-foot-long blimp that will patrol for drug smugglers and highway speeders.

Police superintendent Pedro Toledo said Tuesday officials hope to have the $4 million aircraft on the job by February.

The blimp will have a top speed of 65 mph, carry up to a dozen people and be able to cruise all day at an altitude of 7,000 feet without refueling.

The aircraft will carry a boat that can be lowered to the ocean for rescues or chasing smugglers, Toledo said.