Drone Carrying 11 Illegal Handguns Over Border Foiled by Tree

Canadian authorities recently became perplexed after they encountered a downed drone carrying multiple handguns.

The CBC reported that a shopping bag was attached to the drone, which became snagged in a tree. The bag contained 11 handguns and is believed to have been carried over the international U.S.-Canada border.

Officers of the Ontario Provincial Police were notified on Friday about a large drone stuck in a tree along the St. Clair River near the small Canadian village of Port Lambton, about 60 northwest of Detroit.

The Ontario Provincial Police West Region, which oversees Lambton, tweeted a photo of the drone and handguns on Monday.

"How are illegal guns reaching the hands of criminals in Canada?" the tweet said. "Recently, Lambton OPP found that drones are being used to carry the prohibited guns over from the United States."

The St. Clair River is shared by both Canada and the United States. Police are under the assumption that the drone came from the United States and aimed to deliver the firearms to an unknown recipient in Canada.

st clair river canada us border
The twin spans of the Blue Water Bridge loom over the St. Clair River in Port Huron, Michigan, looking to Sarnia, Ontario, Canada, March 18, 2020. Paul Sancya/Associated Press

It remains unclear who operated the drone, where the guns are from, and to whom or where the drone was traveling at the time it became snagged in a tree.

According to Drone Genuity, drone laws vary by country or continent. In North America for example, five countries including Canada and Jamaica have very few restrictions related to recreational drone flights–other than not impeding airspace or potentially registering with local aviation authorities. Another 10 countries, such as the United States, Mexico and the Bahamas, require some sort of paperwork to fly, but the restriction is still slim.

Countries including Cuba, Belize and Nicaragua have very strict drone regulations, however, reportedly restricting all drone flight "except for very specific commercial occasions." Drones brought into such countries could be confiscated.

Drone Guns canada border
A drone carrying 11 illegal handguns in a shopping bag was discovered in a tree in Canada. It's unclear where the drone came from or where it was headed. The Ontario Provincial Police West Region, which oversees Lambton, tweeted a photo of the drone and handguns on May 3, 2022. Ontario Provincial Police

On April 21, 2021, the Federal Aviation Administration's "Operations Over People" rule went into effect, described as "the next incremental step towards further integration of unmanned aircraft (UA) in the National Airspace System." It allows routine operations over people and routine operations at night under certain circumstances, while eliminating the need for typical operations to require FAA waivers.

Drones can be used nefariously or countered with use for reasons related to safety, as the Pentagon recently sent hundreds of "Phoenix Ghost" drones to Ukraine to defend against Russian aggression.

In Shanghai, drones have been utilized to encourage residents not to protest COVID-related lockdown measures.

They can also save lives in certain instances, such as in the case of authorities in North Carolina locating a stranded hunter with drone technology.

Anyone with information regarding the drone-carried handguns in Canada is requested to contact the OPP at 1-888-310-1122 or Crime Stoppers anonymously at 1-800-222-8477 (TIPS).

Newsweek reached out to the Ontario Provincial Police and St. Clair Township Fire Department for comment and updates.