I’m surprised this took this long

Border authorities say they have thwarted an attempt to smuggle nearly 30lb of heroin from Mexico to the United States for the first time.
Two California men pleaded guilty to using drones to airlift the drugs into the country on Wednesday.
It was the first drug seizure involving a drone along California’s border with Mexico, said Lauren Mack, spokeswoman for US Immigration and Customs Enforcement in San Diego. She was unaware of any other drone-related seizure on the 1,954-mile divide between the two countries.
Jonathan Elias, 18, and Brayan Valle, 19, admitted in federal court Tuesday that they drove to a field in Calexico, California, in April to pick up a bag with 28.6 pounds of heroin that was sent across the border by drone.

Not that I am in the drugs business but if I were I would have been doing this for some years now…..and also funding research into long distance drones.

13 thoughts on “I’m surprised this took this long”

  1. Smuggling, drugs or otherwise, is quite an interesting thought experiment for the technically minded.

  2. They probably have, it’s just that this is the only time they’ve been caught at it with enough evidence to go to court.

    Quite so! These things will fly vast distances with the right battery/payload combination – I’m sure they’ve been successfully transporting drugs this way for ages….

  3. Matthew L,

    “Smuggling, drugs or otherwise, is quite an interesting thought experiment for the technically minded.”

    See, what I’d do is to build a submarine travelling a few feet under water about the size of a great white shark. You’d need to have it surfacing occassionally to get a GPS signal for navigation, and you’d have a very good range with that.

  4. The thing about drones is that anyone can play. It might be cost effective for the Mexican-based gang to fly half a dozen such drones packed with something other than drugs up to San Diego. The US state is droning people to bits all over the place. It is well within the pocket-book of drug cartels to start returning the favour. What would the Feds do then? Invade Mexico?

  5. This is the first time they have been caught. I’m sure there are other group successfully smuggling stuff across in drones undetected.

    The idea has been around for ages. The BBC even made a drama about smuggling diamonds from France in remote controlled aircraft in 1977 (Sky Pirates http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0316620/). I loved that film when I was a kid (on repeat in the 1980s).

  6. The Stigler: “See, what I’d do is to build a submarine travelling a few feet under water about the size of a great white shark.”

    Might I suggest an enhancement? Equip it with one of the radio tags from a ‘celebrity’ shark on Twitter and monitor its progress from the comfort of your armchair!

  7. I’m surprised none of them have converted a decent sized microlight for this, they have tried submarines already.

  8. Pigeons were used in the Sperregebied of coastal south western Namibia

    On April 19, four men were arrested in Alexander Bay, South Africa, on charges of using racing pigeons to smuggle diamonds out of the Forbidden Area, local newspapers reported. Three dozen small uncut diamonds worth $6,000 were seized.

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