Drug smugglers are increasingly using drones to spot vulnerabilities along the U.S.-Mexico border and to transport drugs into the U.S., according to U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

Reports of unmanned aircraft flying along the border have spiked in recent months, with more than three dozen sightings since October, when the fiscal year began, Border Patrol officials said.

Senate Homeland Security Committee Chairman Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) said earlier this month that the number of drone flights over sensitive areas or suspicious activities has jumped from eight incidents in 2013 to an estimated 1,752 incidents in 2016.

On "Fox & Friends First," National Border Patrol Council President Brandon Judd said drones are completely changing how criminal cartels operate.


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He explained that they are not only using drones and video cameras to probe for soft spots along the border, they actually use the aircraft to transport drugs into the U.S.

"The payloads of drones can carry so much opioids and different narcotics like that, and they fly these narcotics over with these drones," Judd said.

The Washington Post reported:

While most drones are believed to be flying surveillance missions, at least one made it across the U.S. border carrying drugs worth tens of thousands of dollars. In January, a 25-year-old man was sentenced to 12 years in prison for flying a drone over a fence near the bustling checkpoint between San Diego and Tijuana, Mexico. The unmanned aircraft was carrying a plastic bag packed with 13 pounds of methamphetamine.

"Frankly, I'm a little bit disappointed in my agency. We knew that these drones were going to be a problem. The agency did not react," Judd said.

Watch more from "Fox & Friends First" above.


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