Criminalized Drones

As most of us could have guessed the pro’s of drone flying will most certainly be accompanied by con’s as well. Last year there was one the first reported drug smuggling busts of a drone that was trying to cross the boarder. According to the Los Angels Times, two men have been found guilty for smuggling drugs by drone. Twenty-eight pounds of heroin were smuggled by the drone across the U.S. border near Calexico, near San Diego, in April of 2015. The two men who pleaded guilty were caught on Border Patrol cameras retrieving the drugs near California Highway 98 in Imperial County.


Drones have been called the ideal “drug mules” because they allow drug cartels to transport shipments more quickly with less risk of being caught. Mexican media has also reported that drug cartels have been commissioning engineers to design custom-made drones which is going to only make the smuggling business more interesting to contain on the US law enforcement side.

Another interesting bit of criminal drone activity recently was a 28-pound bale of marijuana crashing through the roof of an Arizona family’s garage and landing in an empty dog cage. This was another instance in the latest cases of drones smuggling narcotics into America. Typically Mexican Cartels drop illegal substances from drones in the desert or on the edge of towns, which lead police to believe the marijuana was accidentally dropped on the Arizona house because of pilot error, not because the bundle of weed was too heavy.


Berger, S. 2015. Mexico Drug Trafficking: Drone Carries 28 Pounds of Heroin Across Border To US. Web. Accessed 24 April, 2016.

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