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Teen uses remote-controlled car to smuggle drugs across border, officials say

MATT ZARRELL

Teen uses remote-controlled car to smuggle drugs across border, officials say originally appeared on abcnews.go.com

A 16-year-old boy was arrested for using a remote-controlled car to transport methamphetamine across the U.S.-Mexico border, officials said.

On Sunday, agents with U.S. Customs and Border Patrol stationed near San Diego observed a person with two duffel bags walking along the secondary border wall which separates the U.S. from Mexico. The teen was ducking in and out of the agents' view, causing officials to respond to the scene.

The teen was soon spotted hiding in thick brush near the border, officials said. In the teen's possession was a remote-controlled car and two large duffel bags.

Officers searched the bags and found 50 packages of methamphetamine that weighed 55.84 pounds in total and had an estimated street value of $106,096, CBP said in a statement.

The teen was arrested and taken to a nearby patrol station to face drug smuggling charges. The boy is a U.S. citizen, officials said.

PHOTO: U.S. Border Patrol agents arrested a 16-year-old boy on Sunday who was using a remote-controlled car to transport methamphetamine across the border. (U.S. Customs and Border Protection)

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Agents suspected he used the toy car to receive packages through the steel barrier, a Customs and Border Protection official told ABC News.

The barrier was constructed in the past year, the official said. It’s part of the structure the Trump administration uses as evidence of the president's commitment to building an imposing border wall to prevent smuggling.

“That’s exactly what the wall is supposed to do -- give them the time and opportunity to make the arrest,” CBP spokesman John Mennell said Wednesday.

The administration has yet to complete any projects to extend the length of barriers along the southern border, although construction is underway in south Texas, according to CBP.

PHOTO: U.S. Border Patrol agents arrested a 16-year-old boy on Sunday who was using a remote-controlled car to transport methamphetamine across the border. (U.S. Customs and Border Protection)

This is not the first time agents have discovered a remote-controlled smuggling operation. Officials stopped a similar incident in 2017 involving a remote-controlled drone that was being used to smuggle drugs.

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"I am extremely proud of the agents’ heightened vigilance and hard work in stopping this unusual smuggling scheme," San Diego Sector Chief Patrol Agent Douglas Harrison said in a statement.

ABC News' Quinn Owen contributed to this report