Report: Mexican Drug Cartels Have Conducted Over 9,000 Drone Flights Into U.S. Airspace

Mexican drug cartels have conducted more than 9,000 drone flights into U.S. airspace in the last year to analyze U.S. law enforcement and security operations at the southern border, according to a new report from Judicial Watch.

“The drones are observing federal, state, county, and city agencies near the Mexican border, including the U.S. Border Patrol, Texas Department of Public Safety, Texas National Guard, county sheriffs and local police,” the report states. “The Border Patrol, which operates under Customs and Border Protection (CBP), has captured about a dozen of the drones, and accessed the Unmanned Aerial Vehicles’ (UAVs) guidance and memory systems to gain intelligence information, according to a high-level official at the agency.”

Federal officials told Judicial Watch that the Mexican drug cartels “use the UAV surveillance flights to facilitate human smuggling and drug trafficking. Specifically, they help identify gaps in border coverage and assist the cartels in overwhelming certain areas to create a diversion for moving sensitive or high value loads through alternate border locations. The data analyzed from the confiscated drones has also provided U.S. authorities with other law-enforcement sensitive information that cannot be made public, government sources said, adding that drug cartels started using the devices a few years ago.”

Brandon Judd, President for the National Border Patrol Council which represents the nation’s 20,000 Border Patrol agents, told Judicial Watch the drones are also used to smuggle drugs into the United States.

“They are dropping fentanyl,” Judd said. “They fly into certain locations, drop them to the ground and fentanyl is taken off of them and they take back off into Mexico.”

The report comes as illegal immigration levels remain at record highs border officials with encountering 207,416 migrants at the southern border last month, bringing the total number in Fiscal Year 2022 to 1,746,119 – already more than last year’s record number of 1,734,686.

“CBP announces 207,416 migrant encounters at the border in June, down from the record high of 239,000 in May, but the fourth month in a row of more than 200,000. There were 15,272 unaccompanied children in June, an increase over May (14,678). 6 terror watchlist hits in June,” Fox News correspondent Bill Melugin wrote on Twitter.

“There have now been 1,746,119 encounters at the southern border in FY’22, already eclipsing the record setting 1,734,686 set in all of FY’21 and there are still 3 months left in FY’22. This year is on pace to absolutely shatter last year’s record and push over 2 million,” Melugin added.