A small drone carrying approximately three kilos of crystal meth crashed in a Tijuana parking lot less than a mile from the border with San Diego on Tuesday night, police said.
Authorities in Tijuana, Mexico, said that the battery-operated drone was likely unable to support the weight of the attached packages, which caused it to crash prior to a likely mission to deliver drugs to the United States. Six packets containing methamphetamine weighing approximately 6.5 pounds were attached to the drone using thin plastic webbing and black tape.
Tuesday's discovery offered a close look at the use of drones in smuggling attempts across the border. A source at the US Drug Enforcement Administration told a Mexican news outlet last year that at least 150 drone-smuggling attempts were made from Mexico to the US since 2012.
Authorities identified the drone as an assembly-kit DJI Spreading Wings s900.
Unusual smuggling methods used in recent years in Tijuana have included the use of so-called "blind mules" — when drugs are attached to a vehicle or person without the physical smugglers' knowledge — as well as catapults meant to launch drugs over the border fence, and the exploitation of vulnerable migrants who are sometimes forced to cross narcotics to pay off debts incurred during their migration.
Mexican smugglers are becoming increasingly high tech in their attempts to get drugs across the border.
Authorities in Tijuana said they initiated an investigation into the drone's origin. The US Border Patrol station in San Diego did not immediately publish any comments on the fallen drone.
Follow Andrea Noel on Twitter: @MetabolizedJunk.