Authorities in Tijuana, Mexico recovered a drone carrying nearly 7 pounds of methamphetamine two miles from the U.S. border on Tuesday, U-T San Diego reported.
The drone was found in a supermarket parking lot following an anonymous tip to police around 9:50 p.m. that night. It was identified as a “Spread Wings 900” model, which is reportedly available online for $1,400. The drone has six propellers and runs on a lithium battery.
Police also recovered six packages containing the drug, which were attached to the drone with tape.
“The drone probably couldn’t hold the weight of the cargo, and that’s why it fell,” police said in a statement on the department’s Facebook page.
According to U-T San Diego, meth seizures at U.S. ports of entry have increased, with cartels shifting their focus to making and smuggling both that drug and heroin in response to increased legalization of marijuana in the U.S. However, police believe that the drone recovered Tuesday night was used to carry drugs between local neighborhoods, instead of going through the border.
A spokesperson for the Drug Enforcement Administration’s office in San Diego, Amy Roderick, said drone use lacks cost-effectiveness for dealers, since they can only handle a small amount of drugs at any given time.
“That coupled with the ease of detection, does not make this method very profitable to these drug trafficking organizations whose motivation is money,” Roderick said.
Vice News reported that Tijuana officials have also noted an increase in the use of catapults to launch drugs over the border, as well as employing what smugglers call “blind mules,” people or vehicles who unknowingly carry drugs planted on them by cartel members.