In this image released by the Mexicali Public Safety Department, a man holds up an improvised cannon that was confiscated in February 2013 in Mexicali, Mexico. Police in the border city say the cannon was used to hurl packets of marijuana across a border fence into California.

MEXICALI, Mexico — A powerful improvised cannon was used to hurl packets of marijuana across a border fence into California, police in the border city of Mexicali say.

The device officers confiscated was made up of a plastic pipe and a crude metal tank that used compressed air from the engine of an old car, police told the Televisa network.

The apparatus fired cylinders packed with drugs that weighed as much as 30 pounds, police. It was confiscated last week after U.S. officers told Mexican police that they had been confiscating a large number of drug packages that appeared to have been fired over the border. Mexican police on the border have recovered a series of similar devices in recent years.

Senior Editor, News, Arizona Daily Star, Tucson, Az.