August 30, 2013 – Drug Trafficking Organizations
(DTOs) have turned to new methods of smuggling
by air. One method that has emerged in recent
years has been the use of ultralight aircraft.
Under the cover of darkness, ultralights fly
across the Southwest border and airdrop
marijuana cargo to waiting ground crews.
The load size ranges from 200 to 220 pounds of
marijuana. During FY 2011, there were 101
confirmed ultralight events, with 28 narcotics
seizures, 16 arrests, and three ultralight
From October 1, 2011, through June 1, 2012,
there were 55 confirmed ultralight events
resulting in 17 narcotics seizures, 11 arrests,
and two ultralight aircraft seized.
On Wednesday, Border Patrol agents assigned to
the Indio station seized an ultra-light aircraft
loaded with 189 pounds of marijuana and over 12
pounds of methamphetamine one mile west of
highway 111 near Niland.