Smugglers Use Catapult to Launch Drugs Into US | NBC Southern California
National & International News
The day’s top national and international news

Smugglers Use Catapult to Launch Drugs Into US

U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials said the catapult system was used to launch 47 pounds of marijuana from Mexico into the U.S.

    processing...

    NEWSLETTERS

    Smugglers Use Catapult to Launch Drugs Into US
    U.S. Customs and Border Protection
    The catapult (left) was rigged onto a border fence near Douglas, Arizona, and used to launch marijuana from Mexico into the United States. U.S. Border Patrol agents discovered the complex contraption on Feb. 10 and dismantled it (right).

    Drug smuggling attempts by car across the U.S.-Mexico border are a frequent occurrence, but in Arizona one group of smugglers recently got more creative, using a catapult system to launch bundles of drugs over a fence.

    On Feb. 10, border agents in Douglas, Arizona, were patrolling east of the Douglas Port of Entry when they noticed suspicious activity near a fence that separates Mexico from the United States, according to U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officials. 

    As agents approached the area, several people scurried off. The agents discovered a catapult system rigged onto the south side of the border fence.

    A search of the area revealed that two bundles of marijuana, weighing a combined 47 pounds, had been launched into the U.S.

    U.S. Customs and Border Protection

    Tucson Sector Border Patrol Agent Vicente Paco said the device was “very complex.

    “This is the first mechanism that we’ve found related to systems like this to launch narcotics across the border,” said Paco.

    Paco said devices used in previous smuggling attempts have included air pressure cannons and trebuchet-type launching mechanisms, but never a catapult quite like this one.

    In 2011, a similar catapult system was captured by National Guard troops using a remote video surveillance system in nearby Naco, Arizona.

    Border Patrol agents seized the marijuana and called Mexican authorities to investigate the contraption. The agents then dismantled it, and the pieces were seized by Mexican authorities.

    Early Wednesday, Paco said no arrests had been made in connection with the catapult and the launching of the marijuana bundles.

    Man Visits Disneyland 2,000 Times In a Row

    [NATL] Man Visits Disneyland 2,000 Times In a Row

    A Huntington Beach man has set a record for most consecutive visits to Disneyland. Jeff Reitz, 44, has visited the park 2,000 times in a row. Reitz started visiting the park every day when he was unemployed and wanted to keep his spirits up. Employed at the VA now, Reitz continues to visit every day after work because it helps him to decompress after a long day. His favorite ride is the Matterhorn Bobsleds, which he first rode with his mom when he was 2 years old. 

    (Published Friday, June 23, 2017)

    It is unclear how long the catapult had been on the fence and whether it had previously been used to launch other drugs into the U.S. The investigation is ongoing; Paco said that, for now, agents can only confirm it was used in the Feb. 10 incident.

    Those who spot illegal activity near the borders can call CBP authorities at (877) 872-7435.