Man Caught Using Drone to Smuggle 13 Pounds of Meth Across U.S.-Mexico Border

Points for creativity. 

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Well, here's something you don't hear about every day. According to authorities, a 25-year old U.S. citizen has been charged with smuggling more than 13 pounds of methamphetamine into the United States across the Mexican border—via a drone. 

According to NBC News, Rivera explained to authorities that he’s used drones to transport drugs as many as six times since March of 2017, usually delivering the contraband to an accomplice waiting at a San Diego gas station. Reportedly, the attempt resulting in Rivera’s arrest would have brought him a mere $1,000 in profit. 

How did Rivera get caught? Apparently, Border Patrol agents saw a drone fly through the San Diego skies on August 8th, then tracked it to Rivera, who was around 2,000 yards removed from the Mexican border. According to authorities, the agents located the drone's owner with a lunchbox filled with meth and a two-foot drone stashed in a bush. 

Consider the fact that 13 pounds are far more drugs than we’ve previously seen being smuggled via drone, the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) say that this mode of transport may become an actual concern of theirs. Up until now, these events have involved low amounts of contraband, and been dismissed as largely insignificant, as recently as their latest annual report suggested. According to NBC News, the acting U.S. attorney for the Southern District of California, Alana Robinson, claims that the “Border Patrol is very aware of the potential and are always listening and looking for drones.” 

Now, we’ve reported on the use of unmanned aerial vehicles as a form of cargo transport in all kinds of forums, including the illegal act of drug smuggling into federal prisons. This time, however, the sheer amount of drugs being moved by Jorge Edwin Rivera and this UAV is not just notable for being illegal, but for being far larger than previous attempts. (At least, ones that we know about.)

We’ll be sure to keep you updated on Rivera’s case as it evolves. He’s currently being held without bail and is scheduled for arraignment on September 7th.