Not every cross-border smuggling attempt makes headlines. But coming up with an inventive and daring approach can get you your 15 minutes of fame—or, infamy—and possibly many more minutes behind bars. Here’s an excellent example: a zip line drug smuggling attempt that landed one man and 240 pounds of weed in the custody of Arizona border patrol agents.
Border patrol agents in southern Arizona noticed something odd as their surveillance technology swept across the U.S. border with Mexico.
According to the AP, agents saw a man trying to conceal himself in a vacant lot in the small town of Douglas. After receiving an alert, Douglas Station Border Patrol agents patrolling the area arrived to find 10 packages of cannabis and a male suspect. After arresting him, police identified the suspect as an 18-year-old resident of Douglas.
The agents subsequently searched the area, which turned up one end of a zip line. The agents found the other end of the zip line attached to a tall building in the neighboring city of Agua Prieta in Sonora, Mexico. The height of the building allowed the zip line to clear the fencing at the border.
It’s kind of fun to imagine a guy strapped with weed flying down a zip line across the border. But this case of zip line drug smuggling was likely much less extreme.
It wouldn’t exactly be very practical for one person to zip line loaded down with 240 pounds of weed. But sending down a series of 10 packages, each about 24 pounds, makes a lot of sense. The zip line drug smuggling approach is quick, cheap and quiet. And it doesn’t require sending anyone through border checkpoints illegally. However, it’s not ingenious enough to bypass the advanced detection technology employed along the U.S.-Mexico border.
According to border control agents, remote surveillance, like the kind that caught this alleged smuggler, serves as a “force multiplier.” In other words, agents can be in more places than one. The suspect is currently being held on federal drug smuggling charges. He will remain in police custody pending further disposition. Agents estimate the value of the 240 pounds of marijuana seized in the bust is in excess of $120,000.
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