The drone found by border patrol agents August 8. The drone found by border patrol agents August 8.

Drone pilot charged with smuggling meth

Border agents located the alleged pilot with six kilos of methamphetamine

A drone’s payload is not very big, which has prevented their widespread use for smuggling drugs.

But it was big enough for Jorge Edwin Rivera, 25, who has been charged with smuggling more than six kilograms of methamphetamine from Mexico into the United States.

A U.S. citizen, Rivera admitted he had used drones to smuggle drugs five or six times since March, usually delivering them to an accomplice in San Diego, and was being paid US $1,000 for the most recent shipment.

Rivera was caught after border patrol agents spotted the drone on August 8 and followed it to Rivera, who was about two kilometers from the border.

Authorities said the agents found Rivera with the drugs and a drone that was hidden nearby.

The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration says drones are not often used for smuggling drugs because they can only carry small loads. Other drawbacks are that the noise they make attracts attention and their range is limited.

One apparently overloaded drone crashed in a shopping center parking lot in Tijuana in January 2015. It was carrying only three kilograms of methamphetamine.

In two separate incidents in 2015, drones were used to smuggle 13 kilograms of heroin and 14 kilograms of marijuana. The first was in Calexico, California, where two people pleaded guilty to trafficking, and the second was in San Luis, Arizona.

Source: Associated Press (en)

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