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BP: Agents intercept drone-dropped drugs for first time

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BP: Agents intercept drone-dropped drugs for first time

  • The smuggling drone, seen in an image from a thermal camera.
    CBPThe smuggling drone, seen in an image from a thermal camera.

In November, Border Patrol agents intercepted drugs dropped by a drone along the U.S.-Mexico border, the agency announced Tuesday. 

This was the first time that agents have detected a "drug drone incursion," said U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials in a news release. 

On Nov. 16, agents assigned to the Yuma Station using night vision googles watched an "OctoCopter-style" drone fly over the U.S.-Mexico border from San Luis, Rio Colorado, and drop a bundle, according to the release.

The agents tracked the drone to its drop point and found three bundles of marijuana, weighing approximately 10 pounds each, near the bank of a canal. The agency said the drugs were worth an estimated $15,430. 

The Yuma Sector's Chief Patrol Agent Anthony J. Porvaznik praised the seizure, saying that the agency "often forces smuggling organizations to redirect their efforts" and "experiment with different techniques" to smuggle drugs. 

"Our agents’ vigilance was responsible for detecting this particular drone event, but we always encourage members of the public to assist our efforts by contacting the Border Patrol upon seeing suspicious activity," Porvaznik said.

Officials said they delayed releasing information about the incident for two months because it was "considered law enforcement sensitive."

In December, CBP reported that 226 pounds of pot, worth about $113,000, was dropped from an ultralight aircraft north of Interstate 8 and the Imperial Sand Dunes.

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