Catapult Used to Launch Marijuana, Packages Over International Border at Naco, Arizona


Video of a pot-firing catapult used to launch packages over the Arizona-Mexico border.

Drug smugglers trying to get marijuana across the Arizona-Mexico are using a new delivery method: a catapult. Using a video surveillance system, the National Guard at the Naco Border Patrol Station caught images of several people launching packages over the border fence.


The smugglers escaped capture, but officials seized the catapult, and SUV, and about 45 pounds of Marijuana.

Naco is across the United States–Mexico border from Naco, Sonora. The Naco port of entry is open 24 hours per day.

The present-day town of Naco, Arizona was established in the early 1900s. The area was originally settled by Opata Indians. Naco means “cactus” in the Opata language, it was named however, by combining the last two letters of Arizona and Mexico.

Naco is one of the preferred routes for “coyotes” (also called polleros or enganchadores) or smugglers who offer to take migrants across the international border. The Naco area has major problems with the smuggling of drugs and people north and weapons south. It is one of the main routes into the United States, ranking in the top 25 of Mexico’s 100 border municipalities as a haven for drug traffickers. Shootings related to drug trafficking have occurred here such as the street murders of two near the Hotel Cowboy in 2009. Federal troops have been stationed in Naco due to the violence.


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Naco, Arizona is located about 80 miles south of Tucson, Arizona.