Maya Donnelly awoke to what sounded like thunder in the early morning hours, but she dismissed it as a typical monsoon storm and went back to sleep. Later that morning, she looked in the carport at her home in Nogales, Ariz., near the border with Mexico, and saw pieces of wood on the ground. She found a bulky bundle wrapped in black plastic. Inside were roughly 26 pounds of marijuana—a package that authorities say was worth $10,000 and likely dropped there accidentally by a drug smuggler's aircraft. "It's all right on top of our dog's house," Donnelly says of the Sept. 8 incident. "It just made a perfectly round hole through our carport." She called her husband, Bill, who told her to call 911.
The couple says responding officers told them an ultralight aircraft smuggling marijuana from Mexico had probably let part of its load go early by accident. The family will have to pay the estimated $500 in repairs and buy a new home for their German shepherd, Hulk. But it could have been much worse for the couple and their three teenage daughters. "Where it landed was clear on the other side of the house from the bedrooms," Donnelly says. Friends and family have joked that the couple could have profited from the surprise package. "That's what everybody says: 'Why did you call 911?'" Donnelly says. "But how can you have a clear conscience, right? We could have made lots of home repairs with that." (Other smugglers in Nogales used a sewage line.)