Published January 26, 2011
Drug smugglers trying to get marijuana across the Arizona-Mexico border apparently are trying a new approach -- a catapult.
National Guard troops operating a remote video surveillance system at the Naco Border Patrol Station say they observed several people preparing a catapult and launching packages over the International Border fence last Friday evening.
"It looks like a medieval catapult that was used back in the day," Tucson sector Border Patrol spokesman David Jimarez told Reuters.
Tucson TV station KVOA said Border Patrol agents working with the National Guard contacted Mexican authorities, who went to the location and disrupted the catapult operation.
The 3-yard tall catapult was found about 20 yards from the U.S. border on a flatbed towed by a sports utility vehicle, according to a Mexican army officer with the 45th military zone in the border state of Sonora.
The catapult was capable of launching 4.4 pounds of marijuana at a time, the officer said Wednesday, speaking on condition of anonymity for security reasons.
"I have not seen anything like that in my time before as a Border Patrol agent ... although we are trained to handle any kind of a threat that comes over that border," Jimarez added.
Soldiers seized found 35 pounds of marijuana, the vehicle and the catapult device, the officer said.
The smugglers left the area before they could be captured.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.