The Drug Catapult

Via the AP:  Pot-firing catapult found at Arizona-Mexico border

The 3-meter (3-yard) tall catapult was found about 20 meters (20 yards) from the U.S. border on a flatbed towed by a sports utility vehicle, according to a Mexican army officer with the 45th military zone in the border state of Sonora.

The catapult was capable of launching 2 kilograms (4.4 pounds) of marijuana at a time, the officer said Wednesday, speaking on condition of anonymity for security reasons.

Soldiers seized found 16 kilograms (35 pounds) of marijuana, the vehicle and the catapult device, the officer said.

The smugglers left the area before they could be captured.

This is both amusing and an illustration that drug traffickers are innovators.

It also underscores that a fence hardly solves the problems we face and that remote surveillance was the effective tool here, not the fence.

FILED UNDER: Borders and Immigration, National Security, Quick Takes, US Politics
Steven L. Taylor
About Steven L. Taylor
Steven L. Taylor is a Professor of Political Science and a College of Arts and Sciences Dean. His main areas of expertise include parties, elections, and the institutional design of democracies. His most recent book is the co-authored A Different Democracy: American Government in a 31-Country Perspective. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Texas and his BA from the University of California, Irvine. He has been blogging since 2003 (originally at the now defunct Poliblog). Follow Steven on Twitter


  1. john personna says:

    Innovators! This application obviously called for a trebuchet.

  2. Apply the same sort of thinking to illegal immigration. The coyote would need a human-sized trebuchet on one side of the wall and a teammate on the other with a bunch of mattresses. I think Mythbusters attempted this with results that could only be called “mixed” from a preservation-of-health perspective, but then again stuffing a person into a bus tire to smuggle her across the border is also not exactly a “safety first” move.

  3. Franklin says:

    Um, couldn’t most humans throw 2kg well over 20 meters? How tall is the fence there?

  4. john personna says:

    You know, the drug dealers have money. They could just go buy out the pumpkin chunkers.

  5. john says:

    But with the fence there, the smugglers had to stop, setup the catapult, and then launch things over the fence. Being forced to stay in one place for an extended period of time is what allowed the surveillance to work. With plain old remote surveillance, we would have watched them drive over the border and disappear.

    So it’s the combination of both here that was effective.

  6. john says:

    P.S. A potato cannon probably would have been more effective. 🙂