Early this week, Mexican authorities took possession of an unmanned aerial vehicle that crash-landed on the Mexican side of the U.S. border near San Ysidro, California. The drone was reportedly carrying crystal meth and was used to smuggle the drugs into the U.S.
On Thursday, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) reported that the drone was carrying just over six pounds of the illegal drug and that the street value of the cargo was about $48,000.
Authorities said that the six-propeller Spreading Wings S900 drone was unable to support the weight of the cargo and crashed before making it over the border into the U.S.
American authorities, however, have insisted that they are not worried that drug smugglers will suddenly start using drones in great numbers to smuggle drugs across the border. “We’re not greatly concerned that this will become a huge issue,” Washington-based special DEA agent Matt Barden told Fox News Latino. “The big reason is it is almost fruitless.”
DEA spokesperson Amy Roderick also moved to allay fears that drones would bring a new wave of drugs across the border. Roderick released a statement stating, “We would not call using drones a new trend in smuggling. … This method will only allow a small amount of drugs to be flown at a time and coupled with the ease of detection, does not make this method very profitable to these drug trafficking organizations.”
However, another official told Fox that if smugglers used drones in the Tucson desert or at Big Bend National Park in Texas, “you can make shipments all day without anyone noticing.”
Still, federal authorities noted that they are more worried that smugglers might use drones for a more conventional purpose: surveillance. Authorities say that they fear the drug cartels could use drones to spy on U.S. border agents and to pinpoint their positions in order to help smugglers avoid detection. They also fear that cartels might use surveillance drones to launch attacks on border agents.
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