Vehicles are great for taking the kids to school, picking up friends and carrying the shopping ─ but not always so good, it would seem, at helping move illegal contraband from one place to another. We've scoured the internet to find the five dumbest attempts at using vehicles to smuggle goods that went hideously wrong. Here they are, for your bemusement, in no particular order.

Marijuana cannon

Image: AP
Image: AP

Drug smugglers, fed up with getting busted while crossing the border, decided they wouldn't risk physically crossing the thing any more. So they fitted an old pickup truck with a cannon made of an old plastic pipe, crude metal tank and the compressed air from an old engine to the back of a non-descript pick-up, turning the vehicle into a ganja gun on wheels.

While you can't fault the logic of firing drugs over a tall fence, there're just a few tiny problems with the herbal howitzer. For one thing, it's not exactly easy to judge where your drugs will land, especially at night, and it's surprisingly easy for the authorities to spot a six-foot tube sticking out the back of a 4x4 - with or without night vision goggles. Nobody will believe you were hoping to start a vehicle paintball club.

Amazingly, contraptions similar in nature have been confiscated on numerous occasions so this isn't the first and certainly not the last vehicle of its kind, which makes us fear for the survival of the human race. Or at least the drug trade.

Jeep stuck on fence

Who needs a cannon when you can drive the drugs with you over those mighty great fences separating Mexico from the US? Two suspects keen to sneak some marijuana over the border and make a quick buck decided to drive up two metal ramps in their Jeep Cherokee.

It was deviously cunning, but the execution left a lot to be desired. Rather than drive on down the ramp and head on its merry way, the drug-laden 4x4 became lodged at the top of the 14ft (4.3m) fence. Unable to dislodge a two-tonne vehicle and, the smugglers took their drugs and did a runner, leaving the jeep high up in the air, much to the amusement of news websites the world over.

The year before a similar smuggling technique was attempted and remarkably it worked, although the suspects were later caught. At least that was less embarrassing, though.

Bigfoot Two semi-subermisible

Image: Defense Media Network
Image: Defense Media Network

You really can't fault the ingenuity of the 60ft Bigfoot Two. Instead of taking a land-based approach to smuggling, a drug cartel decided to go more up-market with a $2 million semi-submarine which, as the name suggests, can ride the seas but doesn't fully submerse itself.

Essentially it marries the slower speeds of a sub with the detectable nature of a boat. Genius, indeed.

Piloted by four people not bothered about personal space and hygiene, the semi-subermisible was able to transport a whopping US$200 million in waterproofed packets of cocaine ─ enough to make a fair few people exceedingly rich. And high.

Unfortunately for the drug cartel, an anonymous tip-off led the US coast Guard to catch the sub-thing in the act. Cue all four crew diving overboard, US$2 million dollars worth of ship heading for Davy Jones' locker and an FBI-led diving expedition to retrieve all the illegal treasure bobbing up and down in the waves.

Dashboard dummy

Image: Snopes

Customs officials on the US-Mexico border pulled over a car, quite routinely, to check for any illegal contraband. Rather than find a packet or two of whatever narcotic substance was in fashion that week, they found some people playing hide and seek. The game lasted all of three seconds and it definitely wasn't fun for everyone involved.

Upon searching the car, officials spotted a 135lb woman hiding behind the dashboard. No, scrap that. Hiding is a strong word - Poirot and Jonathan Creek would have figured this one out in record time.

If you think that was stupid, one chap decided to try and disguise himself as a chair. Suffice to say, his plan was about as well-considered as a left-handed screwdriver.

Humvee catapult

Image: BoingBoing.net

Not got an old plastic pipe, crude metal tank and an air compressor lying around? Fear not, your smuggling career isn't quite over yet. You could create a rubber band-powered catapult instead, which is exactly what one group of smugglers thought would be a fool-proof step to riches.

A number of men were seen loading up the catapult with packets of Marijuana before launching them into the sky and over the border where the drugs could be collected, transported to cities and sold.

Unfortunately for the crims, Mexican authorities with night vision cameras were able to catch the operation mid-flow, leaving the smugglers to speed off in a Humvee, leaving behind a sizable lump of Mary Jane and the SUV used to pull the catapult along.

To rub salt into the wound, a group of military folk decided to have a play around with the medieval contraption, the results of which ended up on YouTube. Oh, the shame.