Many have attempted to bypass border restrictions in order to smuggle in stuff, like catapults and tunnels. As technology advances though, criminal organisations have also continued to adopt newer methods in smuggling, including using cheap, little consumer drones to fly pass borders to drop off drugs. In fact, just recently, the US Drug Enforcement Administration has issued a warrant to search a DJI Mini 2 drone that was confiscated by authorities late last year when it was trying to drop off some drugs.
According to the warrant, the DJI Mini 2 was spotted flying past the 25ft high fence along the border. US Border Patrol then saw it hover over a parking lot on the other side of the fence and land, before a grey Mercedes then came around with someone to pick it up. The authorities then quickly intercepted the drone before the driver could collect it. The DJI Mini 2 drone was found with 256g of methamphetamine, more than its own weight of 249g though several others have shown off videos of it lifting up to double its own weight before. It’s understood that the search warrant by the DEA is to get data forensics like flight data off the drone along with its microSD card.
It’s also just the latest in the US government’s continued struggle against drug smugglers using drones. Back in September 2021, the Sheriff’s Office of Orange Country, California had tweeted out that they arrested someone suspected of trying to smuggle drugs into a prison. They had arrested him along with his DJI Mini drone, 2g of heroin, 4g of methamphetamine, 15 Xanax pills and 15 muscle relaxants.
Similar incidents have also occurred closer to home. Just a couple of years ago, the Singaporean police arrested four Singaporeans for suspected drug activities, after having detected unusual unmanned aircraft activity over the Kranji Reservoir Park in Singapore, near the border to Johor. Police who made it over to the scene then found a drone with a bag attached to it hovering around, with the bag later discovered to be 278g of crystal meth. The drone itself was a DJI Mavic Air 2, then one of DJI’s latest consumer drones, and flight data from one of the suspect’s phone revealed that the drone was making flights from Kranji to Johor Bahru and back to Kranji that day. A further three people would later be arrested by Malaysian police in the weeks that follow.
More recently however, drones were perhaps in a better light, being deployed to help local authorities out when the floods hit several areas in Selangor and Kuala Lumpur. A special taskforce was formed with several local companies helping out, and over 20 high powered drones were used to provide medication food and power banks to heavily flooded areas throughout Selangor, while also helping to survey the flood.
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