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Drone Footage Of Border Wall Prototypes Reveals How Useless They'd Actually Be In Curbing Drug Smuggling

by Penn Collins

October 24, 2017

In an effort to frame the debate about the proposed border wall to be about crime (as opposed to xenophobia), President Donald Trump has consistently pledged the barrier will serve to keep drugs from flowing through the Mexican border into the United States. As five wall prototypes are erected in San Diego, Trump has gone on record as saying the mock-ups are “looking really good” in an interview with Sean Hannity. 

While they might look good, a drone video from U.S. Customs and Border Protection intended to show the progress actually serves to remind us just how ineffective this wall would be (should it actually be built). 

As simply as the drones can fly over these prototypes and record video, so too could they fly from one side of the wall to the other to deliver drugs. Earlier this year, Trump suggested the wall should be clear so that those walking on one side (presumably the American one) don’t get caught off-guard and hit when a giant bag of drugs comes sailing over the wall from the Mexican side.

Perhaps in the president’s mind, the wall only needs to be tall enough so that smugglers can’t throw drugs over the wall, but sophisticated cartels have demonstrated time and again the ability to adapt their methods using both their bankrolls and ingenuity. So even if they had relied on tossing over drugs (and there is little indication that they had), a strategy utilizing high-flying unmanned aircraft seems like an obvious pivot. 

An August report from The Washington Times revealed that cartels already regularly rely on drones to carry drugs across the border, and border enforcement agencies have been regularly tracking down rogue drones carrying drugs into the United States. 

Border agents have been resorting to surveillance tactics including blimps and human lookouts to curb the use of drones in smuggling, and while that fight is ongoing, logic dictates that a wall of any practical height will do little to thwart the traffic of unmanned aircraft above it. 

Share image via Matt Novak/YouTube.

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