Yuma-area Border Patrol agents seized more than $300,000 in cocaine and methamphetamine dropped by drones flown from Mexico last week, authorities said.
Wednesday, agents recovered a bundle that was dropped from a small unmanned aircraft system and contained about 463 grams of methamphetamine, or about one pound of the drug, worth around $3,000, said Rob Daniels, a spokesman for U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Border Patrol’s parent agency.
Over the weekend, another drone launched from Mexico entered U.S. airspace, Daniels said, and dropped multiple packages. Agents recovered the ten of the packages dropped by the drone and found that they contained around 24 pounds of cocaine, worth an estimated $306,000, Daniels said.
On Sunday, Yuma agents detected another drone, Daniels said. Of the three drones flown into the Yuma Sector, agents managed to seize two of the three drones used over the five-day period, Daniels said.
Over the last year, the Yuma Sector has been a central part of the Trump administration’s move to build new border walls, along with infrastructure including lights and remote sensors, to stymie the movement of drugs and people along the areas’s canals and deserts. Last week, the head of the Yuma Sector, Carl Landrum, tweeted that construction personnel were “permanently closing a glaring gap” in the sector’s defenses, adding a new layer of metal bollard wall panels inside a canal that flowed into Mexico.
This isn’t the first time that smugglers in the Yuma-area have used drones to send drugs over the line. In Nov. 2015, a Yuma sector 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.