Smuggling illicit drugs across the U.S border is a lucrative business. From hiding hundreds of pounds of cocaine or marijuana in vehicles, funneling it through tunnels under fenced areas or shipping it across the Florida coastline, drug dealers based in countries like Mexico and Cuba are pretty inventive in finding ways to get their contraband past border agents and into the United States.
So inventive, in fact, that U.S. Customs and Border Protection reported that over the weekend, drug smugglers in Mexico used an air cannon to launch a pile of weed across the border into the U.S.
According to the report, the drug package was subsequently picked up by a couple of teenaged U.S. citizens – who were then picked up themselves by border patrol. CBP officials stated:
On Dec. 7, after Border Patrol agents using multi-surveillance capabilities detected what appeared to be drugs being launched from Mexico into Naco, Arizona, two agents responded to investigate.
When agents arrived at the reported location, they discovered two juvenile U.S. citizens with a bundle of marijuana believed to have been fired from an air cannon in Mexico. The bundle, weighing about 34 pounds, was molded into a cylindrical shape approximately the diameter to fit in a 55-gallon drum.
In addition to increasing waves of illegal immigration at the border, the influx of dangerous drugs – often far more powerful than marijuana – is a complex and continuing problem at the border. CBP noted that in 2015, border agents seized close to 9,500 pounds of illegal drugs being smuggled into the United States on a typical day. Averaged out over an entire year, this would mean agents confiscated about 3.5 million pounds worth of drugs last year alone.
For example, last Friday alone, CBP announced they’d arrested a 23-year-old Mexican man after discovering five tons of weed valued at more than $5 million in a shipment of vacuum pumps. That same day, CBP reported finding $370,000 worth of marijuana hidden inside a horse trailer, another 190 pounds of weed stashed inside a Mexican man’s Mazda, $80,000 worth of cocaine being smuggled inside an SUV, 36 pounds of meth stuffed inside a Toyota sedan, 16 pounds of meth in a Honda, nearly half a million worth of cocaine in a Dodge pickup truck, and 17 pounds of meth and five pounds of heroine stashed in freezer bags and smuggled in toy boxes Mexican man’s car.
However staggering these stories may be, agents have noted that the amount of drugs being confiscated at the border – and, more infrequently, at U.S. ports of entry – isn’t much compared to the amount that makes it through unnoticed. In his written testimony before a Senate panel, Chris Cabrera, a border patrol agent with the Rio Grande Valley Sector at the U.S.-Mexico border, told Congress last year that while agents apprehend only 35-40 percent of all illegal aliens who come across the border, they catch even an even lower percentage of the drug smugglers adept at bringing millions worth of drugs across the open border.