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U.S. Border Patrol Seizes Ultralight Aircraft Loaded With Meth/Fentanyl

Release Date: 
May 24, 2019

TUCSON, Ariz. – Tucson Sector Border Patrol agents assigned to the Nogales and Tucson stations seized a modified ultralight aircraft and its illicit cargo of nearly $500,000 in methamphetamine and fentanyl, southeast of Tucson, Thursday night.

Air and Marine Operations agents monitoring surveillance equipment detected an unknown aircraft entering the United States at approximately 11:00 p.m. The agents electronically tracked the aircraft and directed U.S. Border Patrol units under its path to an improvised landing site south of Tucson. A small aircraft strapped down with meth and fentanyl illegally breached the U.S. border with Mexico and was ditched in Tucson's southeast desert.

Agents encountered the aircraft abandoned along a rural dirt road, with two large plastic storage containers affixed to the fuselage. Canine units on scene inspected the aircraft and discovered numerous methamphetamine packages inside the containers.

The drugs and aircraft were seized and transported to the Nogales Border Patrol Station, where testing confirmed the packages contained over 143lbs of meth and over 200 grams of fentanyl.  

An AMO helicopter crew and Border Patrol agents conducted an exhaustive search of the area, but did not find the presumed pilot.

Transnational criminal organizations use a wide range of techniques to smuggle both humans and narcotics into the United States. Individuals can report suspicious activity to the Border Patrol and remain anonymous by calling 1-877-872-7435 toll free.

Please visit www.cbp.gov to view additional news releases and other information pertaining to Customs and Border Protection. Follow us on Twitter @CBP Arizona.

Last modified: 
May 24, 2019