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Smuggler used ultralight

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I think this pilot is in big trouble for not having a Commercial License :rofl:


The installation of a 30-foot wall along a portion of the U.S.-Mexico border in southeastern California may be pushing human smugglers to find new ways to get people from Mexico into the U.S. who do not want apply for asylum.


A Mexican smuggler flew himself and two Chinese men in a tiny ultralight aircraft — an open-air, go-kart-like machine with wings and room for one or two people — over the border wall and 35 miles north into the Southern California desert Tuesday night.


Ultralight aircraft have historically been used by smugglers to move drugs north of the international boundary, but the Tuesday incident indicates transnational criminal organizations may be testing out a new smuggling method.


U.S. Border Patrol agents stationed in California's southeastern region responded around 2 a.m. local time Tuesday to a report of an ultralight aircraft flying in the vicinity.


Agents arrived in Calipatria, Calif., a desert town 35 miles north of the border, to the coordinates where the aircraft landed.


As soon as federal agents arrived, the machine and three men were spotted near the unlit aircraft. Agents immediately took into custody two of the people standing near the vehicle.


The third person launched the aircraft before they could apprehend him and flew more than 30 miles south to Mexico.


The two people taken into custody were identified as Chinese citizens. Agents believed they had flown from Mexico to the U.S. on that miniature aircraft minutes before being arrested, according to a statement from U.S. Customs and Border Protection.


A fourth person found near the scene while sitting in a vehicle was also taken into custody. The Mexican citizen was legally present, but believed to be waiting for the two Chinese men and helping the smuggling operation. The three were taken into custody.


Two days earlier, Border Patrol agents operating in the same region arrested two people for allegedly flying $1.4 million worth — or 129 pounds — of methamphetamine in an ultralight aircraft over the border and dropping the bundles in Calexico, Calif.


It's not clear if the same ultralight aircraft was used in both incidents. The machine flew away and was not seized by U.S. law enforcement.


In 2010 — before drones hit the market — smugglers in Mexico were flying ultralight aircraft packed with marijuana over the border into Arizona’s Tucson and Yuma regions, as well as San Diego.


Smugglers would use a small man, often a teenage boy, to fly the load from Tijuana into San Diego.


Agents had an easier time detecting and catching the pilot because of how loud and visible the machines were when they flew by, even at night. They would drop 50 to 200 pounds of drugs to someone waiting for them on the U.S. side, then take off back to Mexico.


That lasted until 2014 when drones emerged and a few years later became the new method for smuggling illegal or regulated items without using a foot soldier.

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Note all of the convenient airstrips on the Mexican side of the border on this  air nav chart of the Yuma area.


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