In the most curious story of the weekend, authorities in Mexico, acting on a tip, seized a catapult and 45 pounds of marijuana that smugglers wanted to launch over the Arizona border. InSight Crime brings you, via the Tuscon Sentinel, the video of the catapult.
Perhaps the oddest thing about the video (shown below), which is dated 21 January, are the unexplained pictures at the tail end of it that show a group of Mexican soldiers launching a package (presumably on their side of the border) from what the news headlines termed a "potapult."
One can only suppose they were testing its utility to prove their case in court against those who were captured. However, there are no reports of anyone captured.
Creativity is a hallowed part of the drug trafficking profession. The traffickers have hidden drugs in virtually any product you can think of – peppers, toilet paper, bananas, oil and gas tubes, dolls, etc.
But while cocaine and heroin can fit into small spaces and be camouflaged easily, marijuana poses an entirely different challenge because of its bulk.
Mexican authorities say most cocaine and heroin enter the United States in containers through the major passages points like Nuevo Laredo and Juarez, but marijuana moves through the 'puntos ciegos,' or blind spots, where there are no authorities.
These include places where smugglers have been known to smother dirt on the Rio Grande to facilitate the temporary passage of large container trucks.
To be sure, sophisticated tunnels have run beneath the border since the 1980s, mostly as a means to move marijuana and for human smuggling operations.