‘Lookout’ drone helps smugglers sneak illegal immigrants into U.S.
Smugglers are using a new tactic to try to sneak migrants across the border, agents said Wednesday, detailing the first detected use of what they called a “lookout” drone to try to figure out where agents were stationed.
An agent spotted the drone using an infrared camera, watching at is soared about 100 yards into the U.S. then flew back to Mexico. It repeated that pattern three times, then after the third trip 10 migrants stormed at the border following the same path.
Agents said they nabbed all 10.
“This is the first known time in recent history that a drone has been utilized as a ‘look-out’ in order to aid in illegal entries in the El Paso Sector,” the Border Patrol said in a statement.
The El Paso sector also recorded three large groups of migrants on Tuesday, with some 230 people nabbed in one early morning incident at the Antelope Wells border crossing in New Mexico, another 360 people caught five minutes later at Sunland Park, New Mexico, and a final group of 130 late Tuesday night, back at Antelope Wells.
Antelope Wells is a remote location that had escaped much illegal immigrant activity over the last few decades, but has been particularly hard-hit in recent months.
Border officials say migrant smugglers have started using buses to ship illegal immigrants across Mexico and to the most remote parts of the U.S. border, then sending them across and telling them to turn themselves in and demand asylum from American officials.
Drones are not unknown on the border.
Smugglers have used them to carry hard drugs from Mexico to the U.S.
Border agents say they don’t have a strategy for interdicting drones, and often-times only spot the drone incursions by luck.