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Cartels use old school, high tech ways to move drugs

PHOENIX -- By air, land and sea, a former Border Patrol commander said the Mexican drug cartels are using old school and high-tech methods to get their product into the United States.

Ron Colburn said the cartels use catapults to launch drugs into Arizona in addition to dropping pot from ultralight aircraft. And the underground routes continue to be popular as tunnels are being located more often.

"One of these days the entire city of Nogales is going to drop fifty feet because of so many tunnels beneath it."

And it's not just below ground activity, it's underwater too. The cartels are using submarines to move their product.

"They run these small motherlode subs out to sea to meet up with fishing boats and other watercraft off the coast of Southern California."

With the billions of dollars they have stashed, Colburn said the cartels can buy whatever they need to keep their drug trade going.

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About the Author


Position: Senior News Reporter. Started with KTAR July 4, 1999.

Favorite food: Steak and shrimp, and any food on campouts.

Favorite spots in Arizona: Pinetop-Lakeside, Alpine, Greer.

Favorite news memory: The Wallow Fire in 2011 became the largest fire in state history. Rodeo-Chediski Fire in June 2002, which is the second largest fire in Arizona. The 2007 Southern California Firestorm and being at Sky Harbor Airport when the first plane lifted off several days after 9-11. Seeing the American flag on the tail of the Salt Lake City-bound Delta airliner as it took off still gives me goosebumps.

Favorite movies: True Grit, both 1969 John Wayne classic and the remake with Jeff Bridges -- which was outstanding --, Lonesome Dove.

First job: Spinning records at KLER Radio Orofino, Idaho 1980.

First concert: KISS/Cheap Trick 1977 Spokane, WA Coliseum.

Sports Teams: Washington State University Cougars, The University of Montana Grizzlies and Texas Rangers.

Outside interests: Sports, camping, fishing, traveling.

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