An ultralight aircraft that crashed in the Laguna Mountains early Friday morning was carrying about 250 pounds of marijuana, according to Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s air patrol discovered the downed aircraft before 9 a.m. Friday.
It had slammed into a dead oak tree and landed in a remote area of eastern San Diego County at an elevation of 4,000 feet.
When ICE and Border Patrol officials arrived to investigate the crash site, they found discarded gear and a single pair of footprints leading away from the scene.
There were no traces of blood, so authorities believe the pilot walked away without serious injuries.
Agents confiscated the marijuana from the wreckage.
“HSI agents in San Diego are aggressively pursuing leads involving the dangerous use of ultralight aircraft to smuggle small loads of drugs across the U.S.-Mexico border,” said Mike Carney, acting special agent in charge for Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) San Diego.
There is still serious danger in ultralight smuggling, despite the fact that the pilot escaped unscathed in this instance, Carney said.
All evidence, including a helmet, gloves and other equipment, is being processed, and the HIS investigation continues.