Marijuana, By Air: Mexican Gangs Use Cannon to Hurl Drugs Across U.S. Border

Smugglers are using improvised cannons to shoot marijuana packs over border.

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Mexicali Public Safety Department/AP

An improvised cannon that was confiscated earlier in the day in Mexicali, Mexico, Tuesday, Feb. 26, 2013.

Look out below: drug cartels are using improvised cannons to hurl packages of drugs across the border and into U.S. territory, reports the Associated Press.

Police in the border city of Mexicali seized a homemade cannons last week, according to the AP. The device, powered by an old car engine converted into an air compressor, can shoot as much as 13 kilos of marijuana from its plastic pipe more than 500 feet — more than far enough to clear the border.

(MORE: Can Obama and Peña Nieto Clear the Marijuana Smoke?)

Thanks to the scattered drug packages found on the California side of the border, authorities have long known that those cannons are at work. In Dec 2012, Reuters reported, a U.S. Border Patrol official said 85 pounds of marijuana worth as much as $42,500 was discovered near San Luis, Arizona.

After a thorough search of the area about 200 miles southwest of Phoenix, U.S. Border Patrol agents found a carbon dioxide tank used to propel objects from the cannon, according to Reuters.

(MORE: Mexico’s Peña Nieto Talks to TIME: ‘We Can Move Beyond the Drug War’)

The cannons are the smugglers’ latest creative twist in response to tightened cross-border security. In Jan 2011, National Guard troops discovered a medieval-style catapult, apparently used to launch packets of drugs, next to the border fence near the town of Naco, Ariz., according to NBC News.

A National Guard surveillance video shows how several people were testing the device before Mexican authorities disrupted their operation.

According to a 2010 report by Rand Corporation, a global policy think tank, as much as 67 percent of marijuana in the United States comes from Mexico. The Council on Foreign Relations, a U.S. foreign policy think tank, said America spends as much as $3 billion a year on border patrol.

MORE: Back to the Future: What’s Next for Mexico’s Drug War

15 comments
Somonelse
Somonelse

Take away the incentives! Legalize it, GLOBALLY!

The only deadly thing about weed is the turf war!

BorisIII
BorisIII

I think Colorado, Calif. and Washington are the federal gov. testing grounds for legalization.  And from what i can tell on the internet crime is going down in all three states.  And the three states are saving lots of money, likely making a profit.  And a lot of young people aren't getting criminal records for smoking pot.

Akers
Akers

As someone who lives in California I can say that crime is still rampant and so are crimes against women.  Add in to the fact that overcrowding in prisons equates to more criminals being let out onto the streets, or not even being placed in jail or prison in the first place, means that crime will continue to rise. Unless someone is distributing marijuana to minors, growing hundreds/thousands of plants, etc then they are not being incarcerated, by the way, for those who would like to say overcrowding is due to marijuana users being incarcerated. 

JoseGonzales
JoseGonzales

@BorisIII Violence towards women is going down.  This is significant since women are less for legalization than men.

MalcolmKyle
MalcolmKyle

Prohibition is a sham, and individuals who perpetuate the insane idea that we should continue spending billions upon billions to fight this un-winnable war should be hung out to dry for the acute damage they have caused.

During alcohol prohibition, all profits went to enrich criminals and corrupt politicians. Young men died every day on inner-city streets while battling over turf. A fortune was wasted on enforcement that could have gone on education, etc. On top of the budget-busting prosecution and incarceration costs, billions in taxes were lost. Finally, the economy collapsed. Sound familiar?

Prohibitionists and their criminal friends who live in a crack-house called Congress are having a ball—and it's all on our tab!

KevinHunt
KevinHunt

Special thanks to the fiscal conservatives in Congress that made the sequestration possible!  


According to the OMB's report to Congress, the Drug Enforcement Administration will lose $166 million from its $2.02 billion staffing and appropriations budget. DOD's Drug Interdiction and Counter-Drug Activities budget of $1.6 billion will be reduced by $157 million.  DOJ's Interagency Crime and Drug Enforcement budget of $528 million will be reduced by $43 million.  The DEA Diversion Control Fee Account budget of $335 million will be reduced by $25 million.  The Office of National Drug Control Policy budget of $25 million will be reduced by $2 million. The High-intensity Drug Trafficking Areas Program budget of $239 million will be reduced by $20 million. "Other Federal Drug Control Programs," with a total budget of $100 million, will undergo $8 million in cuts.


NeverPosts
NeverPosts

Who cares? Wow, catching more low hanging fruit. Living in Northern California, I have easy access to more weed in one day than the DEA catches in a year.

I would really hate my life if I was a DEA officer assigned to marijuana. What a pointless existence.

JoseGonzales
JoseGonzales

@NeverPosts If you were DEA you could have all the pot you wanted for free.  Just like tracking guns in Operation Fast and Furious, the DEA sells drugs to see where they go.

knowa1
knowa1

How simple a gas powered Air Compressor and some drain pipe  

JoseGonzales
JoseGonzales

@knowa1 With a relatively cheap upgrade, they will be shooting marijuana in terms of miles.

knowa1
knowa1

@JoseGonzales @knowa1 I agree would not require much brain work to go a few miles, and not much noise or heat signal.