YUMA, Ariz. – The use of drones to smuggle drugs along the border is on the rise and the Yuma Sector Border Patrol is seeking the public’s help in spotting and reporting them.
Drones, more formally called unmanned aircraft system, have many positive and legitimate uses; however, drones are also frequently being used to smuggle illegal drugs across the international border from Mexico into the U.S. They are operated from a distance by remote control and are most often used under the cover of night.
Border Community Liaison Agent Benjamin Rodriguez said the drones that are flown across the border can typically carry two to five pounds and will attempt several trips in one smuggling event.
“Drones are more easily available and because of this, drug trafficking organizations are using them to transport drugs,” said Rodriguez, adding that drone activity is most prevalent in south Yuma County. “They can easily fly the drugs over and drop them off (on the U.S. side).”
Rodriguez said if you see or hear a drone flying near the international border, or if you see a drone carrying or dropping a package, you may be witnessing illegal activity.
If you suspect suspicious drone activity, the Yuma Sector Border Patrol is asking that you report it by calling 1-866-999-USBP (8727). Callers can remain anonymous and are advised to keep their distance and report as many details as possible, to include the location, any suspicious persons in the area and a description of the drone.
“We are reaching out to the public to help us out should they see anything suspicious that may be a drone being used illicitly,” Rodriguez said. “This is an ongoing effort by Yuma’s chief patrol agent to secure our borders.”