- The Washington Times - Monday, August 10, 2020

Border Patrol agents said Monday that they found more than $300,000 in methamphetamine that had just been dropped by an ultralight aircraft that sneaked over the border in southern California.

Agents said they spotted the ultralight flying low a couple of miles north of the border near Calexico early Saturday morning.

When they reached the area, they found a metal basket and a yellow duffle bag. Inside the bag, they found dozens of cellophane-wrapped packages that letter-tested positive for the drug. The packages totaled 151 pounds, which works out to a street value of more than $340,000, the Border Patrol said.

Ultralights and drones are unusual but have been used before to smuggle drugs across the border in Arizona and California.

Agents say the drones are limited in how much they can carry, but are difficult to spot unless the smugglers make a mistake such as not covering up the lights. Given the difficulty in detecting them, it’s tough to gauge how often they’re used.

Ultralights are easier to spot, but they can carry bigger payloads — including people.

In one December 2018 incident, also near Calexico, agents nabbed a driver who’d just picked up two illegal immigrants from China flown across on an ultralight.

Omar Alejandro Ramirez-Dominguez, the Mexican citizen arrested as the driver, told agents he was trying to make money for his family for Christmas. He pleaded guilty to one count of smuggling, was sentenced to five years on probation, had his border crossing card confiscated and was ordered to be kicked out of the U.S.

And last fall Border Patrol agents nabbed an illegal immigrant from Mexico after he crash-landed his ultralight near Nogales, south of Tucson, Arizona.

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