Feds Seize Pot Catapult Attached to US-Mexico Border Wall

By Keri Blakinger 02/17/17

The feds discovered 47 pounds of pot in two large bundles near the catapult. 

weed catapult
Weed catapult found near Arizona/Mexico border. Photo via YouTube

Medieval-minded drug smugglers have resorted to an old-fashioned trick for besting the border wall: a cannabis catapult. 

Earlier this month, Border Patrol agents in Arizona noticed the peculiar contraption hanging off the southern side of the border fence near the Douglas Port of Entry, according to a Customs and Border Protection (CBP) press release

As they approached, agents caught sight of a group of people fleeing the area. A subsequent search didn’t turn up any would-be weed tossers, but the feds did discover 47 pounds of pot in two large bundles. 

Ever ready to spoil the party, Border Patrol agents tore down the catapult system, which was seized by Mexican authorities. Afterward, Border Patrol fired off a punny tweet celebrating their success in defeating the enterprising drug smugglers. "#USBP agents spring into action dismantling catapult used to launch #Marijuana," the CBP Arizona account tweeted Tuesday.

The Twitterverse was quick to weigh in on the bizarre find. “Yet another emblem of the failure of the war on drugs,” wrote one user. “A 1000-ft tall wall will fix this,” snarked another tweeter. 

President Donald Trump made building a wall along the nearly 2,000-mile Mexican border one of his chief campaign promises in the run-up to Election Day. But, as this latest find shows, a wall might not be enough to stop the flow of drugs. 

At the end of last month, CBP intercepted a shipment of marijuana disguised (quite badly) as key limes, agents reported in a press release. With the help of a non-intrusive imaging system and a canine team, agents discovered 34,764 packages containing 3,947 pounds of pot-limes stashed in a tractor trailer trying to pass through the Pharr International Bridge cargo facility. 

Back in January 2016, agents in Texas seized 2,493 pounds of weed disguised as a commercial shipment of carrots. The 2,817 carrot-shaped packages were valued at just under $500,000. 

Sometimes, sneaky smugglers focus more on the method of delivery than the type of disguise. In addition to catapults, traffickers have used drones and even tried driving a Jeep up a ramp over the top of the 14-foot border fence. The mission failed when the Jeep got stuck.

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Keri Blakinger is a former drug user and current reporter living in Texas. She covers breaking news for the Houston Chronicle and previously worked for the New York Daily News and the Ithaca Times. She has written about drugs and criminal justice for the Washington Post, Salon, Quartz and more. She loves dogs and is not impressed by rodeo food. Find Keri on LinkedIn and Twitter.