The manufacturer with a strong demand in the market often seeks to get the product to market through the most efficient means possible. Very few manufacturers would rely on makeshift cannons to complete the task.
This medium is not too outrageous for Mexican drug cartels, however. According to a recent Time magazine report, borders won’t stop the cartels from getting their products to market. Homemade cannons powered by old car engines converted into air compressors can fire up to 13 kilos of marijuana more than 500 feet.
“Because of our progress in targeting and obstructing movement, they can no longer just walk across the border,” Linwood Estes, a Border Patrol Agent in Yuma, told ABC News. “The more and more successful we are, the more and more unique they become in trying to get the drugs across.”
If you’ve ever been to a MLB or NFL game, you’ve probably seen promotional T-shirts being fired into the crowd with a potato-gun-like device. The drug cartels are using a similar concept, allowing them to forgo the challenges inherent in moving illegal products across the border. If sent airborne, the drugs can be fired from anywhere.
The cannons are just now being confiscated. Yet the use of the devices to send products into the cartel’s largest market has been in place for some time. In fact, Border Patrol officials found $42,500 worth of product near San Luis, Arizona, in December 2012. National Guard troops found next to a border fence a catapult they assumed was used for similar purposes near the town of Naco, Arizona.
It’s no surprise that the drug cartels would look for other methods to get their product to market, especially given the tightened cross-border security. The U.S. remains their primary target market and the demand continues to grow. As Border Patrol officers continue to work to protect the border, their efforts may need to turn skyward if they want to keep the drugs out.
Photo by U.S. Border Patrol