Border Patrol in Nogales discovers 124th cross-border tunnel since 1990
This Wednesday, U.S. Border Patrol agents in collaboration with the Mexican Federal Police discovered an incomplete cross-border tunnel beneath the streets of Nogales, Arizona. This was the 124th tunnel discovered in the Border Patrol's Tucson Sector since 1990.
The tunnel was discovered during a routine, bi-national sweep of the stormwater drainage system serving both sides of the border. Cross-border tunnels are often dug beneath residential areas in the U.S., to help conceal the tunnel and its entrance. Existing drainage systems can be taken advantage of to minimize labor costs and construction time.
When the Border Patrol discovers such crude, hand-dug tunnels, they assume that it was built to transport hard narcotics into the United States. Desire to prevent drug smuggling motivates U.S. immigration agencies to actively engage with their Mexican counterparts, who want to know who is returning to their country via those same tunnels.
The tunnel's entrance was concealed with a pile of dirt and capped with a mixture of Styrofoam and concrete. The entrance to the tunnel was about three feet wide; the tunnel itself was over four feet tall and runs about 10 feet beneath the surface. Its builders had managed to reach 20 feet into United States territory.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection asserts that the Border Patrol and Mexican authorities will continue to monitor and inspect the tunnel until it is secured and filled with concrete.