Couple Used Potato Cannon to Launch Drugs Into Prison, Police Say

Police in Saskatchewan said that they believe the two suspects who were arrested outside of the Saskatoon Provincial Correctional Centre were using their potato cannon to blast packages of marijuana and methamphetamines over the facility's fence.

CTV News reported that an 18-year-old man and a 29-year-old woman, both Saskatoon residents, were apprehended by police on the 3500 block of Millar Avenue near the outskirts of the jail. They were in possession of seven grams of crystal meth, 28 grams of cannabis and a small amount of cannabis shatter, a hard, translucent substance made from the plant's essential oil.

Fence with barbed wire
Fence with barbed wire Georgiy Datsenko / Getty Images

When approached by police, the suspects jumped into a white Chevrolet van and fled the scene. They were eventually apprehended after crashing into a trio of police vehicles and taken into custody. Nobody was injured in the crash.

A search of the vehicle revealed not only the drugs but a "potato cannon," a device that uses either pneumatic pressure or a gas-based explosion to launch a payload. They are inexpensive to construct and operate, but can cause numerous injuries.

The couple was apprehended after an investigation by the Saskatoon Police Service Drug Unit, working in concert with the Ministry of Corrections and Policing.

The man faces two charges of trafficking crystal meth and distributing cannabis to an institution. The woman, who was behind the wheel of the van when it crashed, was also charged with conspiracy to traffic, dangerous driving and evading police.

Potato guns have been popular for sending contraband into prison for over a decade. They are capable of moving projectiles several hundred feet without damaging their payload.

In 2008, police in Wisconsin seized a potato gun that was allegedly being used to shoot drugs over the fence at the McCormick Correctional Institution in Portage. The gun's owner was reportedly never located.

Earlier in 2019, the South Carolina Department of Corrections spent more than $8.5 million to install netting around the walls of some of their high-security facilities to deter smugglers. Soon afterwards, reports of potato guns being used to circumvent the new barriers began to circulate from local police departments.

In March, Kerri Hickman was arrested after being observed using a T-shirt cannon of the type commonly used at sporting events to fling drugs and cellular phones over the walls of the North Fork Correctional Unit in Sayre.