Cartels are Using Drones to Smuggle Drugs into the US
Border Patrol agents near San Diego successfully tracked a drone as it flew into the country and delivered over 13 pounds of methamphetamines right into the waiting hands of Jorge Edwin Rivera.
It was an impressive catch.
“At least in our sector, we’ve never gotten all three at once – the drone, the receiver, and the narcotics,” says Border Patrol agent Christopher Harris.
Mr. Rivera, a US citizen with several past drug-related convictions, admitted he was to be paid $1,000 for delivering the drugs to a person named “Primo.”
When it comes to transporting lightweight drugs like meth, heroin, and cocaine, drones are far more efficient than traditional smuggling methods like vehicles and underground tunnels. Plus, a drone can be programmed to fly to an exact GPS location.
Customs and Border Protection does not have clear rules of engagement when it comes to drones and other small aircraft.
“Border security experts say drones present a challenge because they can drop drugs almost anywhere with little notice. There’s no telling how much drone traffic there actually is across the border,” reports The Washington Times.
According to the Mexican media, drug cartels have started to hire engineers to design custom-made drones.
The drone captured near San Diego was a “Matrice 600 Pro,” capable of carrying 13 pounds and flying at up to 40 miles per hour. It costs about $5,000.
The very first cross-border drug seizure by US law enforcement involving a drone occurred in August of 2015. That drone also entered the country near San Diego. It was carrying 28 pounds of heroin.
“Drug traffickers have thought of every conceivable method to move their drugs over, under, and through the border,” says US Attorney Laura Duffy. “We have found their tunnels, their Cessnas, their Jet Skis, their pangas, and now we have found their drones.”