Ancient Weapon Put To Use by Modern-Day Smugglers

by Phil Bourjaily

Usually I write only about law-abiding or sporting uses of guns and other projectile weapons on this blog, but today is an exception because this is so weird. Smugglers have used airplanes and even homemade submarines to sneak drugs into the U.S. but this has to be a first. Our surveillance cameras recorded video of drug smugglers catapulting bales of marijuana across the border into Arizona last Friday. We alerted the Mexican army, which captured the catapult.

It's a 9-foot tall trebuchet built on a flatbed trailer so as to be easily portable. It's an old style "traction trebuchet," powered by several people pulling ropes as opposed to a counterweight as used on really big trebuchets.

According to this story in the New York Daily News, it was seized 20 yards from the border fence, so evidently it can throw a 4 ½ pound bale of marijuana at least that far. Mexican authorities found a second catapult in another border town this week as well.

A bit different from the trebuchets built by more innocent folks I wrote about in the summer.