Beating Amazon to the punch by at least a couple years.
A homemade Lithuanian drone was reportedly being used to smuggle cigarettes into Russia, meaning that organized crime has beaten Amazon to the punch in the quest to deliver desirable products to customers aerially.
Russia has “detained” the drone, Oleg Dzhurayev, a spokesman with the Kaliningrad border department of the Russian Federal Security service, told one of Russia's largest news organizations, ITAR-TASS, earlier this week.
It’s not the first time drones have been used to smuggle products—back in November, people tried to smuggle drugs into a prison in Georgia; the same thing happened in Sao Paolo back in March and in Quebec last fall. Basically, people have learned that drones are good at carrying things (I, for one, am pretty into this miniature single cigarette pack-carrying drone you see in the video above—it’s pretty cute).
But back to Russia: The reported scale of this operation is pretty impressive—according to ITAR-TASS, the drone had a wingspan of roughly 12 feet, and could carry 22 pounds of cigarettes, which is a whole lot of pounds of cigarettes.
No photos of the drone have been released (and Russian officials haven’t confirmed they actually detained it to anyone besides ITAR-TASS), but that’s a very large piece of equipment, and it certainly had a huge battery.
Anyways, if drone delivery is good enough for Lithuanian criminals, it’s probably good enough for Amazon.