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Smugglers get medieval: Pot catapult found at border

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Smugglers get medieval: Pot catapult found at border

  • Mexican authorities put the catapult through its paces.
    Customs and Border ProtectionMexican authorities put the catapult through its paces.

Drug smugglers trying to get drugs across the U.S.-Mexico border are getting old-school: they're trying a catapult.

National Guard troops operating a remote video surveillance system near Naco observed a catapult being set up south of the border last Friday evening, authorities said.

Several individuals set up a catapult just south of the border fence, U.S. Customs and Border Protection said in a news release.

A video clip released by the agency shows a small group apparently launching drugs over the border with the device. 

Border Patrol agents contacted Mexican authorities, who disrupted the attempt. Seized were approximately 45 pounds of marijuana, an SUV, and the 3-yard tall catapult on a flatbed trailer.

Camera operators observed individuals fleeing the area as Mexican authorities moved in.

The video also shows Mexican authorities testing the device.

The device appeared to be a trebuchet, a type of catapult generally powered by a counterweight, although this appeared to be powered with an elastic band. Catapults were developed in the Middle Ages for use as siege weapons.

"The Border Patrol’s partnerships with Mexican authorities, the National Guard and the public enhance our efforts to address and disrupt the organized drug trafficking threat at the border and serves to degrade the capabilities of transnational criminal organizations," said Tucson Sector Associate Chief Jose Cruz.

Naco is about 80 miles southeast of Tucson, just south of Bisbee.

560 National Guard troops are serving in Arizona in the "Copper Cactus mission," which began Aug. 1 and is scheduled to end June 30. 504 of the soldiers are supporting the Border Patrol by manning observation posts along the international boundary.

Because the troops are on a federal deployment, they are legally not allowed to apprehend anyone, but can play a support role in enforcing border security.

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