Drones Smuggle Drugs Across Niagara River: 3 Suspects Caught in New York

High-Tech Drone Smuggling Operation Busted

A smuggling operation that used drones to fly drugs from into upstate has been uncovered, leading to the arrest of three suspects. The operation involved a newly purchased $630,000 house along the Niagara River, which served as a drop point for the illicit deliveries, according to NBC.

Cross-Border Drone Flights

In September 2022, U.S. Border Patrol agents began tracking a drone as it made an overnight journey from an upscale neighborhood on the U.S. side of the border to the vicinity of an Ontario winery. On its return trip to Youngstown, New York, the drone carried a package containing approximately 6 1/2 pounds (3 kg) of MDMA, commonly known as ecstasy. According to court documents, the drone hovered in the backyard of the house before landing near the suspects, where law enforcement officers were waiting.

Evidence Uncovered

A search of the house revealed numerous drones and controllers but almost no furniture, save for mattresses on the floor. Data from the drones indicated that there had been five cross-border flights prior to the September incident, with the first flight occurring in May 2022. This was just a month after the house was purchased in the name of one of the suspect's relatives.

The Suspects

The suspects, hailing from New York City and , are believed to have made brief trips to Buffalo to conduct the drone flights. One of the suspects appeared in U.S. District Court in Buffalo on Wednesday, facing drug and conspiracy charges. He was released on bond. Another suspect has already pleaded guilty in February.

DroneXL's Take

This case highlights the growing use of drones in criminal activities, showcasing the ingenuity and boldness of smugglers. As technology advances, so do the methods employed by those looking to bypass traditional security measures. This incident also underscores the need for heightened surveillance and regulation of drone activities, particularly near international borders. Drones offer incredible benefits in various sectors, but as this case shows, they can also be exploited for nefarious purposes. It's crucial for authorities to stay ahead of these advancements to ensure drones are used safely and legally.


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Haye Kesteloo
Haye Kesteloo

Haye Kesteloo is the Editor in Chief and Founder of DroneXL.co, where he covers all drone-related news, DJI rumors and writes drone reviews, and EVXL.co, for all news related to electric vehicles. He is also a co-host of the PiXL Drone Show on YouTube and other podcast platforms. Haye can be reached at haye @ dronexl.co or @hayekesteloo.

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