El Centro Sector Border Patrol Seizes Ultra-Light Aircraft And $500,000 In Drugs
 
  
 
 
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El Centro Sector Border Patrol Seizes Ultra-Light Aircraft And $500,000 In Drugs
 
By Mike Mitchell
 

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 aircraft seized.

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. 

 
El Centro Sector Border Patrol seized an Ultra-light aircraft along with 189 pounds of marijuana and 12.7 pounds of methamphetamine with a combined street value of $557,920.

The incident took place at approximately 8:20 a.m., after Border Patrol agents discovered an abandoned ultra-light aircraft. Upon further inspection of the aircraft agents found packages strapped to the aircraft. No arrests were made. 

Agents determined that the bundles contained marijuana, weighing 189.4 pounds, with an estimated street value of $151,520, along with 12.7 pounds of methamphetamine with an estimated street value of $406,400. The ultra-light, marijuana and methamphetamine were seized and turned over to the Drug Enforcement Administration. 

With the emerging threat of ultralight aircraft attempting to penetrate U.S. borders in the Southwest under the mask of varied terrain, Office of Air and Marine (OAM) is working with and testing various mobile ground radar systems that provide low altitude radar data to the AMO C for “matrix” integration.
 

 

 
 
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