Cheap and They Don't Snitch: Drones Are the New Drug Mules

Featured in Vice News

Drug Trade


Liam O’Shea, senior research fellow for organised crime and policing at defence and security thinktank RUSI, said drones were at the moment of limited value to wholesale traffickers and organised criminal gangs because of their range and the weight they can carry. He said: “It makes sense that smugglers would seek to use drones. They are cheap and easy to acquire. They also lower the risks involved in some transactions, as smugglers do not have to be physically present during transactions. They offer opportunities for smuggling in areas where previous routes were too risky, such as prisons and over securitised borders. I expect them to be of greater value to smaller players and distributors dealing with smaller quantities. Wholesale drug traffickers will still need to use routes that facilitate smuggling at higher volume or using drones to make multiple trips, which entails risks of detection. That may well change as improvements in technology improve drones’ carrying capacity and crime groups are better able to access drones with greater capacity.”