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2 Chinese illegally dropped off in US from Mexico via ultralight aircraft

U.S. Border Patrol agents arrest illegal immigrants in the desert. (U.S. Customs and Border Protection/Releaed)
December 19, 2018

U.S. Border Patrol agents encountered a second ultralight aircraft this week that flew into the U.S. with illegal immigrants aboard.

Agents with the El Centro Sector spotted an ultralight aircraft flying with no lights from Mexico into the U.S. just before 2 a.m. on Tuesday, according to a CBP statement.

The aircraft landed near Calipatria where agents tracked it. Upon their arrival, the aircraft took off toward Mexico before they could intervene.

However, they quickly discovered that two Chinese nationals were located in the area where the aircraft had landed.

“Agents on the ground encountered two Chinese nationals. Agents suspected they were in the U.S. illegally and that they were dropped off by the ultralight aircraft,” the statement said.

“Also arrested at the landing zone was a Mexican national in a waiting vehicle who was suspected of being part of the human smuggling event. The Mexican national was found to be legally present in the U.S. in possession of a Border Crossing Card,” the statement added.

The three migrants were transferred to CBP’s Calexico Station.

“An ultralight aircraft is pretty much a glider that has a motor attached to it,” Border Patrol agent Carlos Pitones told Desert Sun. “It’s got a seating area so the pilot can maneuver the aircraft.”

“It’s been fairly common within the last few years,” he added. “As of recent news, it’s kind of trending again.”

Pitones said that approximately five ultralight aircraft crossed into the U.S. during 2018.

Agents tracked down the first ultralight aircraft on Sunday, and arrived at the landing site after the aircraft turned back to Mexico, according to Desert Sun.

CBP released a video captured of the aircraft on its way to the drop zone.

Agents discovered two duffle bags stashed under heavy brush that contained 60 taped packages of a white powdery substance.

After processing, the substance was revealed to be approximately 130 pounds of methamphetamine worth a staggering $1.4 million.

Two unidentified individuals were also arrested in the area. They were believed to be awaiting receipt of the drug shipment.

“Ultralight aircraft not only pose a threat to legitimate air traffic in the vicinity, but also to national security. These aircraft are able to carry small payloads of dangerous cargo or dangerous people,” Chief Patrol Agent Gloria Chavez said.

CBP agents were able to seize two ultralight aircraft just weeks apart in March 2017 after middle-of-the-night flights into the U.S. without any operating lights.

“These ultralight aircrafts are extremely dangerous to legitimate air traffic,” Assistant Chief Patrol Agent David S. Kim said at the time. “We urge the community to call 911 if they see or hear one at night since it’s illegal to operate during hours of darkness and could cause a catastrophic accident with other aircraft.”