Border Agents Watch as Drone Flies 13 Pounds of Meth Into US

Agents recovered the drone and drugs and arrested a 25-year-old man
By Michael Harthorne,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 19, 2017 2:41 PM CDT
Man Arrested After Meth-Laden Drone Flies Over Mexico Border
This photo provided by the US Border Patrol shows 12 packages of methamphetamine that were confiscated from a US citizen after a border patrol agent spotted a remote-controlled drone swooping over the border fence Tuesday, Aug. 8, 2017 at a border crossing near San Diego, Calif.   (U.S. Border Patrol via AP)

(Newser) – Looks like automation is impacting everyone's livelihoods, even drug smugglers. The Los Angeles Times reports Border Patrol agents arrested a 25-year-old man on suspicion of importing a controlled substance Aug. 8 in California after watching a drone carrying 13 pounds of meth fly over the border fence from Mexico. Agents at the border heard the drone fly over around 11:30pm and tracked it for more than a mile, according to the AP. The drone led agents to Jose Rivera, who they say was carrying the drugs in a lunch box. Authorities say Rivera admitted to smuggling drugs via drone five or six times since March. The drone—a $5,000, DJI Matrice 600 Pro—was found in a bush near where Rivera was arrested, the Times of San Diego reports.

“This is a new method we’re seeing,” Border Patrol supervising agent Mark Endicott says. In a recent annual report, the DEA stated drones aren't often used to smuggle drugs because they can only carry relatively small amounts. They also make a lot of noise and have short battery lives, according to a US attorney. But as technology improves, experts expect to see more drug-laden drones flying over the border in the future. (Read more drug smuggling stories.)

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