A small DJI drone smuggled its own weight of drugs over the US border wall

Tech

If you’ve ever wondered if drug dealers would just fly packets of powder over the border wall with cheap consumer drones, wonder no more: The US Border Patrol caught a DJI Mini 2 dropping its own weight in meth last October.

That’s according to a recently released search warrant from the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), which is trying to search the drone for evidence that could help them track down the pilot.

According to the affidavit, Tecate’s Campo Border Patrol Station announced on October 7 that a drone had been spotted flying over the 25-meter fence. An officer saw the drone buzzing over a parking lot on the other side of the wall; saw it land; saw a gray Mercedes pull up with a man ready to pick up the goods; then intercepted the drone before the pilot could pick it up.

The bundle contained a pack filled with 0.57 pounds (259 g) of methamphetamine, more than you’d think a 249 g DJI Mini 2 can carry on its own. But for a short jump over a 25-foot boundary wall to a parking lot on the other side, it’s actually quite doable — multiple videos show the DJI Mini 2 can double its own weight in a short period of time.

The drone landed in one of the parking lots visible here, just north of the border with Tecate.
Image: Google Maps

It is not clear from the search warrant whether the Chinese drone manufacturer DJI will be asked to share information about the user who flew the drone – for now it seems that the agent is simply asking for some forensic examination of the drone and its microSD card.

He says these types of flights are common: “In this area, it is common for people/narcotics smuggling organizations to use drones to fly over the border fence and aid and/or facilitate their criminal operations in the United States. ” There are one-off reports dating back years of failed drone drug deliveries near the border, but mostly the drone photos are older, larger models. A so-called drug-running DJI Mini-drone was seized last September in Costa Mesa, Californiahowever, when a man “was suspected of using a drone in an attempt to smuggle drugs” in an Orange County jail.

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