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California

Ultralight plane flying with no lights drops 129 pounds of meth near Calexico, agents say

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Duct-taped bundles and a bicycle were among items that agents found under heavy brush.
(U.S. Customs and Border Patrol)

Border patrol agents seized 129 pounds of narcotics worth $1.4 million and arrested two people after agents spotted a suspicious aircraft landing just north of Calexico, according to U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

The incident occurred shortly after midnight Sunday when agents with El Centro Sector Border Patrol noticed an ultralight aircraft fly over the border without its lights on. The small plane descended just north of Calexico, near the U.S.-Mexico border.

Shortly after landing, the small aircraft took off again and flew back across the border. Agents found where the plane landed in Imperial County and discovered two brown zippered bags lying under heavy brush along with a metallic cage and a bicycle.

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Agents also found two people they think were in the area to pick up the packages and took them into custody.

Officials said the bags were carrying 60 duct-taped bundles containing a white powdery substance that tested positive for characteristics of methamphetamine.

“Ultralight aircraft not only pose a threat to legitimate air traffic in the vicinity, but also to national security,” said Chief Patrol Agent Gloria I. Chavez. “These aircrafts are able to carry small payloads of dangerous cargo or dangerous people.”

The two people taken into custody were turned over to the Drug Enforcement Administration for further investigation, officials said.

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ruben.vives@latimes.com

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