PHOENIX In a brazen attempt reminiscent of a medieval siege, Mexican smugglers tried to use a hefty catapult to hurl drugs north over the U.S. Border, authorities said on Wednesday.
The Mexican military seized 45 pounds of marijuana, a sports utility vehicle and a metal-framed catapult just south of the Arizona border near the small town of Naco last Friday, following a tip-off from the U.S. Border Patrol.
Surveillance video taken by National Guard troops deployed to support the Border Patrol caught a group of men apparently attempting to pull down a metal beam and load or test the catapult, which was powered by powerful elastic and mounted on a trailer close to the metal border fence.
"It looks like a medieval catapult that was used back in the day," Tucson sector Border Patrol spokesman David Jimarez told Reuters.
Arizona straddles a furiously trafficked corridor for human and drug smugglers from Mexico.
The U.S. Border Patrol seize hundreds of tons of marijuana and other drugs each year, smuggled over or under the line using a variety of means, including trucks, clandestine tunnels, horseback and even micro-light aircraft -- although the catapult was new, Jimarez said.
"I have not seen anything like that in my time before as a Border Patrol agent ... although we are trained to handle any kind of a threat that comes over that border," he added.
(Reporting by Tim Gaynor, editing by Peter Bohan)