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California men plead guilty to heroin trafficking in drone smuggling case

Local News

A meth-laden drone crashed in Tijuana during January.

Two California men have pleaded guilty to using drones to smuggle nearly 30 pounds of heroin from Mexico to the United States.

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement said Wednesday the pleas in federal court in El Centro, California, represent the first drug seizure involving a drone along California’s border with Mexico and possibly along the entire nearly 2,000-mile divide between the two countries.

Eighteen-year-old Jonathan Elias and 19-year-old Brayan Valle — both of El Centro — admitted in court Tuesday that they drove to a field in Calexico, California, in April to pick up a bag of heroin that was sent across the border by drone.

They each face maximum sentences of 20 years in prison when they are sentenced Oct. 20 for possession of heroin with intent to distribute.

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