Last week, Mexican authorities confiscated one such cannon in Mexicali, Mexico, which shares a border with Calexico, Calif., CNN reported.
The device was found in the back of an abandoned pickup truck. It was made from a large tub and operated with a compressor connected to the truck, Mexican authorities said. No arrests have been made.
The confiscation of the cannon is the first that U.S. border and customs agents are aware of, a U.S. official said Thursday.
"Well, I've been in [law enforcement] for over 20 years and it seems like within the last five to 10 years they have gotten really, really creative in how they bring their drugs across," said Andy Adame, special operations supervisor for the Joint Field Command Arizona of U.S. Customs and Border Protection.
"This is the first one that I've seen," he said of the cannon. "That was actually a pretty good one. They are definitely out of the ordinary."
Authorities say a similar cannon was used December to propel 33 cans of marijuana from Mexico into Arizona, authorities said. The cans, holding up to 30 pounds of marijuana, were found embedded in Arizona farmland, Adame said.
"The smugglers were trying to pick these up before daylight but there was probably an agent in the area," Adame said, explaining why smugglers on the U.S. side never collected the canisters that held approximately $42,500 worth of marijuana.