Smuggling drugs into the U.S. has become such a complicated and high-tech affair, with cartels building sophisticated tunnel networks and stealthy submarines to get their goods around the watchful eye of customs and border patrol agents. But a group of Mexican drug runners recently applied an 8th-century approach to their profession, using a homemade, trailer-mounted catapult to hurl bales of marijuana over the border fence.
Mexican soldiers, tipped off by U.S. National Guard troops monitoring the area with surveillance cameras, seized a few dozen pounds of marijuana, a sport-utility vehicle, and the catapult it was towing near the small town of Naco near the Mexico-Arizona border on Friday. The smugglers had already fled the scene.
The catapult was found about 20 yards from the fence, standing roughly ten feet tall and prepped to launch several 4.4-pound bales of pot into the United States. And from what we can gather from the few grainy photos available, it looks like a legit piece of elementary medieval siege weaponry.
Most puzzling is how to classify the lobbing of bulk marijuana across an international border using a machine of not-so-modern warfare. While it doubtless runs afoul of U.S. drug laws, from a diplomatic standpoint is this considered an act of war or a foreign aid package?
Five amazing, clean technologies that will set us free, in this month's energy-focused issue. Also: how to build a better bomb detector, the robotic toys that are raising your children, a human catapult, the world's smallest arcade, and much more.