PHOENIX - Mexican smugglers used a pneumatic-powered cannon to propel cans packed with 85 pounds (38kg) of marijuana into the air and over a fence at the Mexican border near San Luis, Arizona, authorities said on Wednesday.
"We haven't seen this before," said Kyle Estes, a US Border Patrol spokesman. "We've seen catapults, but nothing like this. That's for sure."
The plot was foiled when US Border Patrol agents discovered the 33 pot-filled cans last week before they could be picked up by smugglers in an area about 500 feet (150 metres) from the border fence, on the United States side, Estes said.
Smugglers have become increasingly inventive in trying to move contraband into the US in light of stepped up efforts to crack down on border smuggling, Estes said.
Drug traffickers have responded with a variety of ruses including strapping marijuana loads to low-flying microlight aircraft and hurling it over the border fence using medieval-style catapults.