Mexican Cartel Uses Ultralight Aircraft to Smuggle Drugs, Chinese Migrants

Ultralight aircraft
File Photo: Phil Walter/Getty Image

Border Patrol agents in the El Centro Sector tracked two ultralight aircraft used by Mexican cartels to smuggle more than $1.4 million in meth and two Chinese illegal immigrants into the U.S. The agents spotted the aircraft on two consecutive days.

The El Centro Sector agents received notice of an illegal border crossing by an ultralight aircraft from Mexico shortly after midnight, December 16. The agents observed the aircraft flying without lights as it crossed the border into U.S. airspace, according to U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

The agents tracked the aircraft until it descended just north of Calexico, California. The aircraft then climbed back up and returned to Mexico. The agents went to the area where the aircraft descended and searched for cargo. They found two zippered bags hidden under heavy brush, a metallic cage, and a bicycle. A search of the area led agents to two people they arrested on suspicion of receiving the smuggled drugs.

The zippered bags contained 60 taped bundles of a “white powder-like substance.” The agents test the drugs which turned out to be 129.33 pounds of methamphetamine, officials stated. The agents estimated the drugs to be worth $1,422,553.

“The invaluable coordination among CBP components led to the tracking of an ultralight aircraft which resulted in the interdiction of narcotics and arrest of individuals,” El Centro Sector Chief Patrol Agent Gloria I. Chavez said in a written statement. “Ultralight aircraft not only pose a threat to legitimate air traffic in the vicinity, but also to national security. These aircraft are able to carry small payloads of dangerous cargo or dangerous people.”

Border Patrol agents spotted a second penetration of U.S. airspace by an ultralight aircraft shortly after midnight the following day. Again, the aircraft was operated without any lights.

The agents tracked the aircraft to its landing spot near Calipatria, California. As the agents approached, the aircraft took off and flew back to Mexico. The agents discovered two Chinese nationals near the landing site and a Mexican national waiting in a car.

Agents interviewed the Chinese nationals and determined they were illegally in the U.S. and that the ultralight aircraft delivered them to California. Officials suspect the Mexican national in the car, who was legally in the U.S. with a Border Crossing Card, is part of the human smuggling operation.

Officials transported the three individuals to the Calexico Station for further investigation.

Bob Price serves as associate editor and senior political news contributor for the Breitbart Border team. He is an original member of the Breitbart Texas team. Follow him on Twitter @BobPriceBBTX and Facebook.


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