A shipment of marijuana dropped by an ultralight aircraft on the Arizona side of the U.S.-Mexican border has been seized, the U.S. Border Patrol said.
Border Patrol agents in the Yuma sector were notified Saturday evening by U.S. Customs and Border Protection's Air and Marine Operations Center, or AMOC, in Riverside, California, that an ultra-light aircraft, or ULA, had been spotted near the town of Somerton.
"Agents arriving in the area shortly after midnight discovered five bundles and a ULA 'drop cage' just outside Somerton. They found three more bundles beneath a tree a short distance away and a ninth bundle nearby," the Border Patrol said.
The marijuana, which was turned over to the Drug Enforcement Administration, weighed nearly 95 kilos (nearly 209 pounds) and was worth about $484,880.
"As a result of the Border Patrol's progress in combating transnational criminal organizations and ensuring they face stiff penalties, drug smugglers have sought alternate methods - such as using ultra-light aircraft - to deliver their illegal products to the United States," the Border Patrol said in a statement.
President Barack Obama signed legislation in February that targets those who use ULA to smuggle drugs across the borders with Mexico and Canada.
The law provides for prison sentences of up to 20 years for anyone convicted of using ULA to smuggle drugs. EFE