C/O Futures Cartel Research Note Series Robert J. Bunker 16 February 2023
The Mexican cartels have been utilizing drones along the Southern U.S. border since roughly 2010. Initially, drones (typically hobbyist and later commercial ones) were used for narcotics smuggling purposes but some years later they also began to be used for ISR (intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance) missions by 2015. The frequency of cartel drone intrusions has remained an enigma for well over a decade, with limited and sporadic information being released by U.S. governmental sources. While no hint of weaponized drone use by the cartels along the Southern US border exists, this is an ongoing concern given their appearance in October 2017 and actual use in July 2018 in Mexico.