Authorities shut down drug smuggling tunnel
Web Producer: Rikki Mitchell
NOGALES, Ariz. (KGUN9-TV) - Federal authorities shut down a cross-border smuggling tunnel Wednesday that stretched 42 feet into Nogales.
Officials with the U.S. Customs and Border Protection tell KGUN9 that officers with the Tunnel Task Force, led by Immigration and Customs Enforcement, were conducting surveillance and noticed suspicious activity while observing a van.
When they approached the van, they found 22 bundles of marijuana. The two men near the van tried to flee but were apprehended near the drug-smuggling tunnel.
Officers found an additional 29 bundles of marijuana inside the tunnel.
The tunnel was hand dug and about 68 feet long and two feet wide. There is no ventilation, electrical equipment or anything to brace the tunnel from caving in.
The entrance to the tunnel was located in the front yard of a private home in Nogales, Mexico and runs about 26 feet underground before crossing over the border.
It then extends another 42 feet on the U.S. side.
The exit was located on an embankment at the south end of Nelson Avenue.
Mexican authorities responded to the entrance and secured it. Border Patrol agents will guard the tunnel until they can fill it in and ensure that no one can use it.
Investigators believe the tunnel had just been completed shortly before officers found it.
In the last three years, authorities have found and shut down 26 cross-border smuggling tunnels in the Nogales area.