Teen arrested on suspicion of using remote-controlled car to smuggle drugs across border
Border Patrol agents believe someone slipped a drug-laden remote car through a gap in the bollard-style border fence and repeatedly drove it to the waiting teen
A 16-year-old boy was arrested early Sunday on suspicion of using a remote-controlled car to transport methamphetamine across the border near the Otay Mesa Port of Entry, authorities said.
Border Patrol agents believe someone on the south side of the U.S.-Mexico border was able to slip the drug-laden car through a gap in the bollard-style fencing and then drive it to the teen waiting on the north side of the fence, said Border Patrol spokesman Theron Francisco.
An agent spotted the boy hiding in thick brush near the border, about a mile north of the Otay Mesa Port of Entry, about 12:30 a.m. Sunday. The teen had two large duffel bags and a remote-controlled car with him, and agents found 50 packages of methamphetamine weighing more than 55 pounds in his bags.
The boy was arrested on drug-smuggling charges and has been booked into juvenile hall. Francisco said he didn’t know where the boy lived.
The methamphetamine bundles have an estimated street value of more than $106,000.
Francisco said agents believe the youth was working with a partner on the south side of the border fence who repeatedly loaded bundles of meth onto the remote-controlled car, slipped it through the 4- to 5-inch gap in the fence and then drove it to him.
The remote-controlled car “would have had to make multiple runs and go back and forth a few times,” Francisco said. “There is no way he would have been able to do it in one trip.”
This isn’t the first time agents have discovered smugglers using remote-controlled devices to bring narcotics into the country.
In August 2017, a man was found to be using a remote-controlled drone to smuggle methamphetamine across the border about two miles west of the San Ysidro Port of Entry.
A Border Patrol agent had heard the buzz of the drone’s motors overhead, leading to the seizure of the remote-controlled device, which had been stashed under a bush, and $46,000 worth of drugs that the man was carrying.
The 25-year-old man was convicted of smuggling 13 pounds of meth into the U.S. and was sentenced to 12 years in prison.
Kucher writes for the San Diego Union-Tribune.
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