HERMOSILLO, Mexico —- U.S. National Guards operating a remote surveillance system near the U.S. border say they observed several drug dealers preparing to catapult large packages of pot across the border last week.
The discovery of two “drug catapults” in the Mexican state of Sonora marks the latest twist in the cat-and-mouse game traffickers play with authorities.
This is definitely an unusual find,” U.S. Border Patrol agent Jason Rheinfrank told the Star on Thursday. “It’s definitely something new.”
The border agency released a clip of a video that shows the suspects setting up the catapult and testing it without putting anything in the catapult.
The National Guard then contacted the Border Protection agency, who contacted Mexican authorities who seized an SUV, which was attached to the 3-yard tall catapult on a trailer and approximately 45 pounds of marijuana.
The truck, trailer and catapult were found 20 yards from the U.S. boarder.
The officer says the catapult was capable of launching 4.4 pounds (2 kilograms) of marijuana at a time. He says soldiers seized 35 pounds (16 kilograms) of pot, the vehicle and the catapult.
The suspects fled the area before they could be captured.
As far as officials could tell, there was no one on the other side of the border waiting for the drugs.
“We didn’t see anybody, nothing. We went down to check it out,” Rheinfrank said.
A second catapult was discovered Thursday in near Agua Prieta, another border town. Another army officer in that area said an anonymous tip led soldiers to the scene, and the catapult was similar to the first.
Mexican officials say it is the first time they have seen this smuggling method used by local traffickers.
Mexican traffickers have previously used planes, tunnels, vehicles, boats and couriers to smuggle drugs into the United States. Colombian drug traffickers have even used homemade submarines.
Tags: drugs, jason rheinfrank, marijuana, mexican gangs