Authorities in the Mexican state of Sonora, bordering the US, have captured a van-mounted bazooka-like cannon used to propel packages of drugs across the border.
The Mexican Attorney General’s Office Sonora branch seized the ingenuous contraption in a joint operation with military personnel near the town of Agua Prieta, right across the border from Douglas, Arizona. The improvised artillery piece consisted of a huge steel pipe, taking up most of the space in the back of a minivan, and an air compressor used to propel bundles of drugs across the border into US territory.
Some ‘ammunition’ for the gun was captured as well, amounting to over 825 kilograms (1,800 pounds) of marijuana, as well as about 2,000 bullets for more conventional firearms of various caliber. None of the criminals that operated the drug-launching machine were arrested in the operation.
Mexican smugglers have resorted to a number of inventive ways to deliver illegal drug packages into the US. In September 2016, another air cannon, with a 10-foot (about 3-meter) pipe mounted on a van with a specially-cut hole in its roof was seized in Agua Prieta. That launcher had the capacity to send bundles weighing about 27kg (60lbs) flying across the border fence.
Other intricate methods employed by smugglers over the years have included secret tunnels, light aircraft and medieval-style catapults, not to mention stuffing drugs in innocuous-looking things like watermelons, wheelchairs and even breast implants.