Police find tunnel under Arizona-Mexico border

TUCSON, Arizona Mon May 9, 2011 8:56pm EDT

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TUCSON, Arizona (Reuters) - U.S. border police have found a sophisticated smugglers' tunnel fitted with lights, water pumps and a ventilation system running under the Arizona border from Mexico, authorities said on Monday.

The U.S. Border Patrol's Tucson sector said the tunnel ran 250 feet under the border from an abandoned building in Nogales, Mexico, to the namesake city of Nogales, Arizona, at a depth of 15 feet.

It was discovered on May 2 by U.S. Border Patrol agents, in an investigation that subsequently involved the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration and the government of Mexico.

"This tunnel is more sophisticated than other recently discovered tunnels," Chief Patrol Agent Randy Hill said in a statement.

"They chiseled through solid rock and then installed electricity, lighting, water pumps, and ventilation. It is a prime example of the risks traffickers will take and the lengths they will go to smuggle contraband into our country," he added.

Arizona straddles a heavily trafficked route for powerful Mexican cartels smuggling marijuana, cocaine, heroin and methamphetamines north to the United States to meet voracious demand for drugs.

As security has been tightened along the shared border in recent years, drug smugglers have increasingly gone underground to try and evade detection.

At least eight tunnels have been found running beneath the streets of the two Nogales since the start of the U.S. federal government's fiscal year on October 1, Tucson sector Border Patrol spokesman Jason Rheinfrank said.

(Reporting by Tim Gaynor; Editing by Jerry Norton)

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Comments (3)
EllieK wrote:
This discovery is consistent with Arizona Governor Brewer’s earlier announcement today of a renewed effort to address illegal immigration issues with SB1070. It would be remiss for her not to take some action in light of this situation. Whether or not one agrees with the provisions of SB1070, the situation in Arizona cannot be ignored.

Reuters is quite on top of things today, I noticed. You’re getting these Arizona-specific news stories faster than local sources that are within shouting distance of the capitol building in Phoenix!

May 09, 2011 12:21am EDT  --  Report as abuse
Adethro wrote:
Except that SB 1070 has nothing to do with trafficking and instead to do with racism and racial profiling. Don’t try to cover it up as if it is.

May 10, 2011 2:15am EDT  --  Report as abuse
ww2kid8 wrote:
What does the Border Patrol do when it finds these drug smugglers tunnels? Is it allowed to blow them up or is Obama afraid they may hurt a smuggler or two?

May 10, 2011 4:21am EDT  --  Report as abuse
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