PHOENIX, Dec 12 (Reuters) - Mexican smugglers used a
pneumatic-powered cannon to propel cans packed with 85 pounds
(38kg) of marijuana into the air and over a fence at the Mexican
border near San Luis, Arizona, authorities said on Wednesday.
"We haven't seen this before," said Kyle Estes, a U.S.
Border Patrol spokesman. "We've seen catapults, but nothing like
this. That's for sure."
He estimated the marijuana's value at $42,500.
The plot was foiled when U.S. Border Patrol agents
discovered the 33 pot-filled cans last week before they could be
picked up by smugglers in an area about 500 feet (150 metres)
from the border fence, on the United States side, Estes said.
Agents searching the area about 200 miles (320 km) southwest
of Phoenix recovered a carbon dioxide tank used to propel
objects from the cannon, he said.
Smugglers have become increasingly inventive in trying to
move contraband into the U.S. in light of stepped up efforts to
crack down on border smuggling, Estes said.
U.S. authorities have added more fencing, agents and
technologies including unmanned surveillance drones to tighten
security along Arizona's border with Mexico in recent years.
Drug traffickers have responded with a variety of ruses
including strapping marijuana loads to low-flying microlight
aircraft and hurling it over the border fence using
No one was arrested in connection with the latest scheme.
(Reporting By David Schwartz, Editing by Alex Dobuzinskis and