A drone carrying packages of methamphetamine crashed near the U.S. and Mexico border on Tuesday evening, police said.
The small unmanned aerial vehicle was discovered in a shopping mall parking lot in the Mexican border town of Tijuana with more than six pounds of the drug attached to it in six packages. It is unclear where the drone had come from, or where it was traveling to.
An anonymous caller reported the crashed drone to police at 9:50 p.m. local time on Tuesday night. Police said the drone was identified as a Spreading Wings 900 model, which is worth US$1400, has six propellers and can fly for up to 18 minutes, according to the manufacturer’s website.
Mexican authorities said in a Facebook post that criminals are trying different techniques, including the use of “blind mules” such as this drone, to transfer illegal goods to different neighborhoods. It is believed the drone in this case could not sustain the weight of the drugs and fell to the ground.
The use of drone technology for smuggling narcotics is not new in this region. It is estimated more than 150 drones have been used to carry cocaine and other drugs over the border since 2012, according to the Drug Enforcement Agency. The Universal also reports cartel members are beginning to make their own drones as the industry explodes along the border towns of Mexico.
Mexican drug lords use a variety of methods to transport drugs, including huge underground tunnel networks between the U.S. and Mexico. Over time the tunnels have gotten quite sophisticated, with air vents, lighting and an electric rail system. If drone technology heads the same way, authorities might have a bigger problem on their hands.