Robotics
Drug Drone: Meth-Carrying Multicopter Crashes Near US-Mexico Border

drug drone

Amazon promises drone-delivered packages in the future. Drug smugglers in Tijuana are making this a reality even faster, although not without their own hiccups.

Yesterday, Tijuana police announced the recovery of a crashed hexacopter carrying six packages of crystal meth.

The flying rig, a DJI S900 hexacopter designed to carry high-end video equipment for television and commercial purposes, was discovered in a supermarket parking lot in Tijuana’s Zona de Río, along the US border just south of San Diego. It is a class of multicopter typically flown manually, with the pilot controlling route and position rather than using pre-programmed, waypoint following, although the S900 does offer the autonomous capabilities.

The S900 product page describes the craft as being capable of carrying 15 pounds of cargo for 18 minutes. The police report states that each of the six drug packets weighed three pounds, and speculates that the crash occurred due to the excess cargo weight.

drug drone 3

The concept of drug-smuggling drones have been discussed for some time, and have likely existed for nearly as long. (The Associated Press reports that a Tijuana police spokesperson states that this isn’t their first drone recovery). Along with the under-construction submarine discovered in the Colombian jungle and the drug-launching trebuchet spotted at Mexico-California border fence, it shows the groups’ willingness to experiment with technology and innovative drug delivery methods.

Despite numerous examples of groups and individuals using UAVs for beneficial purposes (everything from Hollywood aerial videography to finding missing persons to policing poachers of endangered species), there is still a fair amount of concern and speculation of how these small, easy-to-fly craft can be used for malicious purposes. But some groups, including Matternet, are working to bring legitimate medical drug delivery to impoverished and hard-to-reach areas.

drug drone 2

(Hat tip: Ars Technica)

2 thoughts on “Drug Drone: Meth-Carrying Multicopter Crashes Near US-Mexico Border

  1. I’m not surprised, a black market creates the opportunity for great profits.
    The War on (some) Drugs (and plants) locks so many into the state’s dungeons that we have the highest per-capita prisoner population in the world, and five times the mean average.
    Drones are cheaper than attorneys and easier to deal with than a long sentence in truly horrid places, among violent thugs and race-based gangs.
    Conclusion- drones will be used increasingly.
    I bet we see semi-autonomous solar-kayaks too. That’s how I’d do it, if I were a smuggler. I bet one could make and sell them on Blackmarket Reloaded or whatever darknet site is doing well atm- a sale which would likely be both legal and (after development) quite profitable.

Comments are closed.

Tagged

Mike Senese is the Executive Editor of Make: magazine. He is also a TV host, starring in various engineering and science shows for Discovery Channel, including Punkin Chunkin, How Stuff Works, and Catch It Keep It.

An avid maker, Mike spends his spare time tinkering with electronics, doing amateur woodworking, and attempting to cook the perfect pizza.

View more articles by Mike Senese