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Smugglers used ultra-light aircraft to fly two Chinese men across the highway, says Border Patrol

T he can install a 30 foot wall along a part of the Mexico-Mexico border in southeast California. He can drive human smugglers to find new ways to get people from Mexico to the United States who do not want to apply for asylum. A Mexican smuggler flew and two Chinese men in a small ultralight aircraft – an outdoor airplane, carton-like machine with wings and space for one or two people – across the border and 35 miles north into the southern part of the California desert on Tuesday night. Ultralight aircraft have historically been used by smugglers to move drugs north of the international border, but Tuesday's event suggests that transnational criminal organizations can test a new smuggling method. US. Border Patrol agents stationed in California's southeastern region responded around 2:00 local time Tuesday to a report of an ultra-light aircraft flying nearby. Agents arrived at Calipatria, California, a deserted 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 saw the unlited aircraft. Agents immediately took care of two of the people standing close to the vehicle. The third person launched the aircraft before they could catch him and flew more than 30 miles south to Mexico. The two persons taken in custody were identified as Chinese citizens. Agents thought they had flown from Mexico to the United States on the mini-aircraft before they were arrested, according to a statement from U.S.…

T he can install a 30 foot wall along a part of the Mexico-Mexico border in southeast California. He can drive human smugglers to find new ways to get people from Mexico to the United States who do not want to apply for asylum.

A Mexican smuggler flew and two Chinese men in a small ultralight aircraft – an outdoor airplane, carton-like machine with wings and space for one or two people – across the border and 35 miles north into the southern part of the California desert on Tuesday night.

Ultralight aircraft have historically been used by smugglers to move drugs north of the international border, but Tuesday’s event suggests that transnational criminal organizations can test a new smuggling method.

US. Border Patrol agents stationed in California’s southeastern region responded around 2:00 local time Tuesday to a report of an ultra-light aircraft flying nearby.

Agents arrived at Calipatria, California, a deserted 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 saw the unlited aircraft. Agents immediately took care of two of the people standing close to the vehicle.

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

The two persons taken in custody were identified as Chinese citizens. Agents thought they had flown from Mexico to the United States on the mini-aircraft before they were 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 in storage. The Mexican citizen was legally present, but thought he waited for the two Chinese men and helped the smuggling operation. The three were taken in storage.

Two days earlier, Border Patrol arrested agents operating in the same region arrested two people for allegedly flying $ 1

.4 million – or 129 pounds – methamphetamine in an ultralight aircraft across the border and releasing the bundles in Calexico, California.

It is not clear if the same ultralight aircraft was used in both incidents. The machine flew away and was not arrested by US law enforcement.

In 2010 – before the drones hit the market, smugglers in Mexico flew ultralight aircraft packed with marijuana across the border to Arizona’s Tucson and Yuma regions, like San Diego.

Smugglers would use a little man, often a teenager, to fly the cargo from Tijuana to San Diego.

Agents had an easier time to detect and catch the pilot because of how loud and visible the machines were when they flew off, even at night. They would drop 50 to 200 pounds of drugs to anyone waiting for them on the American side and then going back to Mexico.

It lasted until 2014 when the drones arrived and a few years later, the new method of smuggling illegal or regulated objects without using a foot soldier.

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