Authorities along the U.S. border intercepted a drone employed by Mexican drug cartels to smuggle narcotics into the U.S.
Agents with U.S. Customs and Border Protections arrested Jorge Edwin Rivera, an American citizen, Aug. 8 near San Diego with a drone and 13 pounds of methamphetamine worth roughly $46,000. Authorities witnessed the drone crossing the border and tracked it to nearby brush, where they found and arrested Rivera, reports The San Diego Union-Tribune.
Rivera confessed to participating in at least five smuggling operations using a drone since March. He would then deliver the drugs to a man in San Ysidro, taking a $1,000 cut. Border agents said the incident is the first confirmed case of narcotics trafficking with a drone in the San Diego sector.
“This is a new method we’re seeing,” Border Patrol supervising Agent Mark Endicott told The Dan Diego Union-Tribune. “We’ve had some success on the ground when it comes to (catching) smugglers of humans and controlled substances. So transnational organizations are looking for other ways to get their product into the country.”
Officials say drug smugglers are getting more creative with the methods they employ for getting narcotics over the border.
Authorities caught two illegal immigrants attempting to smuggle nearly half a million dollars in heroin May 17 hidden in caulking tubes at a California bus station. Border agents conducting routine checks of identification at a Greyhound Bus Station in Blythe, Calif., made the arrests after finding two Mexican men in violation of their immigration status.
The relentless efforts of drug cartels and domestic traffickers continue the steady flow of fatal narcotics into America’s cities, fueling overdose deaths throughout the country. Heroin claimed nearly 13,000 lives in 2015 and officials estimate more than 90 percent of heroin in the U.S. is flowing in from Mexico.