Mexican officials say they’ve found a ‘pot-shooting’ bazooka and a stash of marijuana just across the border from Douglas, Arizona.
The Mexican military and federal police recovered the bazooka along with ‘1,800 pounds of marijuana split among about 200 packages’, according to a statement from the Mexican Attorney General’s Office.
Authorities said they also recovered almost 2,000 rounds of ammunition, writes The Arizona Daily Star.
The report says a ‘tubular mechanism with a compressor’ was found inside a small van and Mexican authorities believe it was used to shoot the drug packages over the border into US territory.
In the past, smugglers have found creative ways to transport drugs and other illegal goods — using air space, underground tunnels and and even animals to do so.
Last year, a van was found with a makeshift bazooka attached to it, reportedly with the intention to launch drug packages over the Mexican border, writes The Washington Post.
— Christopher Woody (@chrstphr_woody) September 19, 2016
Inside, federal police officers said they discovered an air compressor, a gasoline motor, an air storage tank and a ‘metallic tube of approximately three meters length (a homemade bazooka),’ according to a police statement at the time.
Police reported the unit had an opening in the ‘rear hood through which the cannon could fire’.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection said in the statement, there’ve been ‘a variety of methods used to send contraband over the International Boundary Fence’ with the most common ‘lobbing softball-sized packages of marijuana over the fence’.
In a 2015 report from the US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) it was found drug overdoses kill more people in the US than car accidents or guns.
The report said some deaths were caused by the consumption of prescription drugs, others by cocaine or heroin, among others.
To find out more, the BBC World Service Inquiry programme spoke to experts to try and establish how smugglers get the drugs across a highly-secure border.
Eric Feldman, an Assistant Special Agent in charge for Homeland Security Investigations told the programme:
The cartels are always looking for a guaranteed way to cross narcotics into the US and a sophisticated tunnel can allow them to cross large-scale loads. Last month we interdicted a tunnel in San Diego and seized more than 10 tonnes of marijuana.
Compare that to sending four guys across with 30 pounds of marijuana on their backs, who have to navigate the mountains, evade Border Patrols and arrange delivery – you can see the difference in profit.
We’ve seen a variety of clever attempts to disguise entrances, everything from pool tables, electric panels, hydraulic bathtubs, elevators. We saw an exit point in the US where each time they came through the opening, they filled it with concrete, painted it and re-carpeted it. That’s attention to detail.
We’ve had success in locating sophisticated cross-border tunnels, but to put it into perspective, since 2006 we have only found 11.
We consider [the tunnels] a national security threat and each time they complete one, our hope is that we identify it and take it out of business before it can be used.