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Drug Smugglers Use Catapult to Launch Bales of Pot Across Border

Surveillance video shows men loading catapult with packages of pot.

ByABC News
January 27, 2011, 9:50 AM

Jan. 27, 2011 — -- Grainy surveillance video shows drug smugglers putting a new twist on their crime by using a catapult to launch small bales of marijuana across the Arizona-Mexico border.

The video was taken the night of Jan. 21 by National Guard troops monitoring a series of surveillance cameras near Naco, Ariz., officials from the U.S. Customs and Border Protection said.

The black and white video shows at least four men near an SUV loading a three yard catapult and flinging the pot over the border fence.

Border Patrol agents contacted Mexican authorities to thwart the smugglers, officials said.

The men reportedly fled from the area to avoid apprehension, officials said.

Mexican police seized approximately 45 pounds of marijuana, the catapult and the SUV belonging to the smugglers. The catapult was found on a flatbed towed by the SUV.

Border Patrol officials said that none of their cameras detected anybody on the U.S. side of the border, but they believe people were expected to pick up the drugs at a later time.

The catapult was capable of launching 4.4 pounds of marijuana at a time, a Mexican Army officer told the Associated Press.

The disovery of the catapult is one of several innovative ways that smugglers have devised to get their drugs across the border.

In November of last year, officials from the Drug Enforcement Administration discovered an 1,800-foot underground tunnel linking a warehouse in Otey Mesa, Calif., with a similar sized building in Tijuana, Mexico. The discovery of the warehouses and tunnel netted officials 30 tons of marijuana worth $20 million.

DEA officials said the Mexican side of the tunnel was equipped with rails and lighting to send drug sleds toward the U.S. side of the tunnel, which DEA officials described as a crawl space.

DEA officials said they believe the tunnel had been completed recently and may have been in operation for about a month before it was discovered.