Nogales, Arizona may have the dubious distinction of being the Drug Tunnel Capital of America.
When I worked for the city we discovered 17 drug tunnels in one year mostly as a result of digging water and sewer line trenches and stumbling into them. Others were discovered when streets and sidewalks started caving in.
Most of the tunnels connect the local underground drainage system with the giant “covered tunnel” drain that connects Nogales, Arizona and Nogales, Sonora. Other tunnels actually cross the US-Mexican border.
There’s a joke in Nogales that the entire downtown someday will collapse into a giant sink hole because the area is riddled with drug tunnels.
I once jokingly suggested the local Chamber of Commerce ought to offer Drug Tunnel Tours.
Anyway…this press release from US Customs and Border Protection:
U.S. Border Patrol Ends Fiscal Year with Tunnel Discovery
TUCSON, Ariz. – While remediating a tunnel previously discovered east of the DeConcini Port of Entry (POE), Border Patrol agents located another illicit tunnel east of the POE.
After seizing 665 pounds of marijuana on Thursday, agents determined that the marijuana had been smuggled through a tunnel. Agents entered an existing storm drain, east of POE, and discovered an illicit tunnel paralleling the drainage system. The tunnel originated in Mexico and traveled into the United States. Plans to remediate the tunnel are underway. (Photos Available)
The Border Patrol’s effective use of infrastructure, technology, and personnel, has made it increasingly difficult for smugglers to move their contraband into the United States. In Fiscal Year 2009, there were 20 illicit tunnels discovered in the Tucson Sector. Thursday’s discovery brings a total of seven during Fiscal Year 2010.
“Border Patrol agents continue to remain vigilant and are ready to address any threats, including tunnels, that may cause harm to the United States,” stated Interim Patrol Agent in Charge Carla Provost. “Tunnels are a third party indicator of the Border Patrol’s effectiveness because agents are forcing smuggling organizations to change their operations.”
U.S. Customs and Border Protection is the unified border agency within the Department of Homeland Security charged with management, control and protection of our nation’s borders at and between official ports of entry. CBP is charged with keeping terrorists and terrorist weapons out of the country while enforcing hundreds of U.S. laws.