• BREAKING NEWS ABC shows live and on-demand -- Download the WATCH ABC app!

Ultralight planes used to smuggle drugs over Mexico-US border

As an alleged drug kingpin is extradited from Mexico to the U.S., officials say smugglers are using 'ultralight' planes to transport drugs across the border.

April 30, 2011 12:00:00 AM PDT
As an alleged drug kingpin is extradited from Mexico to the U.S., officials say smugglers are using "ultralights" to transport drugs.

Alberto Benjamin Arellano-Felix, the alleged leader of the violent Arellano-Felix drug cartel, was arrested in 2002 and has been fighting extradition for years. He has now been extradited from Mexico to the U.S. to stand trial.

Long-reputed to be one of the most notorious multi-national drug trafficking organizations, the Arellano-Felix Organization controlled the flow of cocaine, marijuana and other drugs through the Mexican border cities of Tijuana and Mexicali into the United States, authorities said. Its operations also extended into southern Mexico and Colombia.

Officials say Mexican drug smugglers are turning to "ultralight" aircraft to avoid being caught.

The ultralights dart across the border, drop their drug shipments to waiting trucks, and then return to Mexico.

The U.S. Border Patrol has tracked hundreds of these flights over the past three years, but the pilots are rarely caught.

City News Service contributed to this report.