A 16-year-old boy allegedly tried to smuggle methamphetamine across the U.S.-Mexico border with a remote-controlled car.
Border Patrol agents arrested the teen on Sunday, according to a U.S. Customs and Border Protection news release on Tuesday. The drugs have an estimated value of more than $106,000, the release said.
This attempt comes two years after drug traffickers flew a remote-controlled drone to drop a 13-pound package of methamphetamine across the border, also resulting in an arrest.
“I am extremely proud of the agents’ heightened vigilance and hard work in stopping this unusual smuggling scheme,” said San Diego Sector Chief Patrol Agent Douglas Harrison.
Agents first saw the suspect walking along the secondary border wall with two duffel bags shortly after midnight Sunday, the release said. They eventually found the teen, identified as a U.S. citizen, hiding in brush.
He had 50 bundles of methamphetamine weighing about 56 pounds, according to the release, along with a remote controlled-car. He is facing drug smuggling charges, authorities said.
The 25-year-old man who used a drone to smuggle drugs across the border was sentenced last year to 12 years in prison. Border Patrol officials say such airborne smuggling attempts are only expected to increase as drone technology improves.
Smugglers also rely on the U.S. Postal Service to smuggle their highest-profit drugs into the country. A 2018 report from the Postal Service’s Inspector General found that drug shipments have been on a steady rise in recent years, with over 40,000 pounds of drugs seized in the mail in 2017.
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The report conceded that postal inspectors identify only a fraction of the drugs entering through the U.S. mail. It found 104 drug trafficking websites on the dark web that identified their shipment methods, and 92% indicated they used the U.S. Postal Service.
Contributing: Alan Gomez, USA TODAY