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Published: Wednesday, 11/27/2013

Pot intercepted from plane drop

260 pounds of marijuana seized by San Diego Border Patrol.

BY TONY PERRY
LOS ANGELES TIMES

SAN DIEGO — An attempt to smuggle marijuana into the U.S. by an airdrop from an ultralight aircraft was thwarted, the Border Patrol said.

Two men were arrested and 260 pounds of marijuana were seized near Brown Field Municipal Airport in southern San Diego County. The marijuana was in 10 bundles inside a cargo cage dropped from the ultralight, authorities said.

After dropping its load of pot, the ultralight did not land and was tracked returning to Mexico, according to the Customs and Border Protection’s Office of Air and Marine.

OAM agents spotted the ultralight entering U.S. airspace about 4 a.m. Monday and alerted Border Patrol ground agents. A surveillance helicopter was also dispatched.

Authorities arrested a 32-year-old immigrant who was in the U.S. illegally and a 49-year-old legal permanent resident at the drop zone. Their 1999 Ford Expedition was seized.

The street value of the pot was estimated at $157,000.

William Raymond, director of air operations for the OAM, said the bust is an example of how technology and coordination are being used to patrol the border.



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