Drug Cartels' Latest Ploy: Ultralight Planes

Ultralight aircraft are the Mexican cartels' newest tactic
By Nick McMaster,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 6, 2009 3:56 PM CST
Ultralight planes can't carry much of anything, but are much harder for authorities to detect.   (Wikimedia Commons)
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(Newser) – Mexican pot smugglers have come up with a new tool in their never-ending quest to outsmart US border patrols: ultralight aircraft, USA Today reports. An ultralight is a small plane resembling a scooter with a hang glider attached, and authorities have found several crashed or in mid-flight over the border with more than 100 lbs of marijuana attached.

Smugglers like the tactic because ultralights barely show up on radar and aren’t generally considered capable of carrying heavy loads. While numerous craft have probably made it safely, weight limits are probably why more than a few have crashed making their runs. “This is a new twist,” said a US official. “You’re really at war with drug cartels. They change tactics, and we have to change in the same way.”