Smuggling By Air

The Citizen de Iowa City (Iowa), Thursday, April 3, 1919
s1Clark, J.: "mystery airplane, Texas-Mexico border, 1919", Magonia Exchange, 2007-08-20

Powerful Airplanes Being Used on Mexican Border.

Authorities Say That Contraband Traffic Is Carried Across Rio Grande.

Laredo, Tex. - It is the firm conviction of Mexican customs officials on the lower Rio Grande border that systematic smuggling by means of powerful airplanes is being conducted between that country and the United States. The American authorities on this side of the international boundary are not yet convinced that contraband goods are being carried in this manner from one country to the other, although they freely admit that it is possible if not very probable that this is being done.

If evasion of the export and import duties by this means is not already being carried on[,] it is only a question of time when the airplane will be brought into service for that purpose, it is predicted by customs officials here and at other places on the Mexican border.

It is with considerable circumstantial detail that the story is told of the aerial traffic by professional smugglers. Jose Longoria, a Mexican river guard stationed at San Ignacio, about sixty miles below Laredo, made a report to his superior officer about three weeks ago that while on duty late at night he saw moving lights pass high above him and heard the whirr of a motor. The object was headed north and came from some point to the south in Mexico. Similar reports were made by other Mexicans who asserted that they saw the strange aerial machine go back and forward across the Rio Grande on several different nights. Up to this time no corroboration of the stories told by the Mexicans have [sic] come from American river guards.

It is recommended by the custom authorities in both Mexico and the United States who are on duty along the Rio Grande that airplane control service be established on both sides of the river at the earliest possible time.