Feds find crazy pot-flinging catapult on Mexican border fence

Border agents dismantle a weird-looking drug catapult used to toss marijuana over the fence between Mexico and the US.

Amanda Kooser
Freelance writer Amanda C. Kooser covers gadgets and tech news with a twist for CNET. When not wallowing in weird gear and iPad apps for cats, she can be found tinkering with her 1956 DeSoto.
Amanda Kooser
2 min read

A bizarre contraption caught the eye of federal agents patrolling along the US-Mexico border in Arizona last week. After seeing several people on the Mexican side running away from the approaching patrol, agents discovered a catapult attached to the southern side of the fence, as well as two bundles of marijuana nearby.

The US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agency shared a photo of the catapult on Tuesday. It's a strange "Mad Max"-style contraption made of metal parts and springs with a rope attached to pull it down for loading and flinging.

The agents got in touch with Mexican law enforcement officers, who then seized the catapult. US border patrol dismantled the homemade device and picked up the 47 pounds (21 kilograms) of marijuana that took flight to the American side of the border.

Drug enforcement is a major part of the border patrol's work. According to the CBP's Border Security Report, its officers and agents seized or disrupted 3.3 million pounds (1.5 million kilograms) of narcotics in fiscal year 2016.

Drug smugglers have gotten creative with their methods before.

Tunnels are a common way of moving drugs, but authorities discovered a particularly sophisticated tunnel complete with a rail car system in 2012. Earlier this month, US agents discovered 4,000 pounds (1,814 kilograms) of marijuana disguised as limes in a truck crossing over from Mexico.

Still, the catapult is highly unusual. According to The Arizona Republic, this is the first one agents have found that was actually physically attached to the border fence. Agents even had to use a torch to remove it.

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