TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — For the first five months of Gov. Ron DeSantis’ high-profile mission to stop migrants from coming into the Florida Keys, state law enforcement agents were conducting surveillance flights that went against state policies and best safety practices, according to internal records obtained by NBC News.

On Jan. 6, DeSantis signed an executive order activating the Florida National Guard and state law enforcement agents for his anti-migrant Keys mission. It was widely seen as an escalation of his political fight with the White House ahead of his eventual presidential campaign.

State law enforcement agencies have increasingly become key to parts of DeSantis’ campaign, in the areas of immigration, voting rights and his own traveling security as he runs for president.

After his Keys order, Florida Department of Law Enforcement Commissioner Mark Glass, a DeSantis appointee and ally, informally waived existing department policies so that agents could use airplanes less suited for surveillance missions over water. He also allowed those airplanes to fly significantly further offshore in search of migrant vessels than is generally allowed, according to FDLE internal emails.

Read the full story on NBC News.