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Drone Drug Smuggler Gets 12-Year Sentence

Release Date: 
January 31, 2018

SAN DIEGO—In Aug. 2017, Border Patrol agents arrested 25-year-old Jorge Rivera, a man who used a remotely operated drone to smuggle 13 pounds of methamphetamine into the United States. Rivera’s trial concluded last week and the jury sentenced him to 12-years in prison.


The original incident occurred on the evening of Aug. 8, 2017. Border Patrol agents observed a drone flying over the border fence approximately two miles west of the San Ysidro Port of Entry. Agents on all-terrain vehicles responded and located a man on foot in the vicinity. He was carrying a large bag filled with bundles of methamphetamine. The small drone was located nearby beneath some brush.

Man gets 12-year prison sentence for smuggling meth using a drone.
Man gets 12-year prison sentence
for smuggling meth using a drone.


Deputy Chief Patrol Agent Roy D. Villareal commented on the recent sentencing stating, “We appreciate the determination, persistence, and hard work of all law enforcement partners involved in the case. The United States Attorney’s Office and its diligent efforts have resulted in a successful prosecution and conviction, and a sentencing that should deter this type of criminal activity in the future.”


To prevent the illicit smuggling of humans, drugs, and other contraband, the U.S. Border Patrol maintains a high level of vigilance on corridors of egress away from our Nation’s borders. To report suspicious activity to the U.S. Border Patrol, contact San Diego Sector at (619) 498-9900.


Last modified: 
February 3, 2021