It isn’t all that easy to smuggle drugs into the US. Strapping it to your body doesn’t seem to work, the underwater tunnel method is a little risky, and customs agents appear to have caught on to the whole drugs-disguised-as-produce-and-dick-candles scheme. As Mexican authorities continue to crack down on drug smugglers, criminals continue to aim high in a bid to evade them.
Last week, Mexican authorities seized a jury-rigged bazooka and nearly one ton of marijuana in the border town of Agua Prieta in Sonora state, the Mexican Attorney General said in a statement.
The bazooka had been “adapted” to use a compressor for launching drugs into the United States. The Mexican daily El Universal reports the device was inside a van with a sliding roof, allowing the bazooka to shoot the drugs from the cover of the vehicle.
According to Mexican police, the bazooka was found hidden away inside a cargo van, along with around 1,800 pounds (816 kilograms) of weed and 2,000 rounds of ammunition. Sounds like an interesting little party in there. Police believe that drug dealers intended to aim the bazooka through the van’s sunroof and shoot large packages of weed across the border into the nearby city of Douglas, Arizona.
Douglas shares a border crossing with the Mexican town of Agua Prieta where the bazooka was found by authorities.
The discovery has helped cops explain another unsolved mystery: when authorities in Douglas noticed a 100lb (45kg) bushel of weed flying over the border while reviewing security footage. Astonishingly, this isn’t the first time that Mexican police have found people using long-range projectile weapons to try to smuggle drugs into the US. Authorities found a similar weed cannon in the same town of Agua Prieta in 2016. At the time, ABC News released this video of the bazooka and the modified van, which dealers had stripped of all its seats except, of course, the driver’s. It must have been cramped in there.
It’s unclear whether the same people made the two homemade bazookas, or if everyone is getting into the drug-cannon game these days. Whatever the case may be, the drug smugglers could consider just sticking with drones, since those are a little easier to replace than a decked-out car with a built-in cannon.
Eric Feldman, an Assistant Special Agent in charge for Homeland Security Investigations:
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.