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Yuma-area border-wall contractors find caved-in smuggling tunnel

Contractors working on the border wall near the San Luis Port of Entry discovered a collapsed and incomplete cross-border tunnel on Monday, authorities said. 

The contractors were moving soil in the area when they discovered what appeared to be a sinkhole at the footer of the 18-foot high bollard wall that runs along the U.S.-Mexico border there. Along with the "primary" wall, there is another layer of fencing as part of the area's double-layer fencing system. 

This is the sixth tunnel found in the Yuma Sector, said Daniels. 

Earlier this year, officials in Nogales found a hand-dug tunnel which connected to the city's drainage system, one of 126 found in the Tucson Sector. 

The contractors soon discovered plywood and boards, which agents later determined to be shoring for the tunnel, said Rob Daniels, a spokesman for U.S. Customs and Border Protection. The tunnel appears to have ducked under the fence and a layer of concertina, or razor wire, and was about 8-to-12 feet below the surface. 

Yuma Sector agents, along with agents from Homeland Security Investigations, a part of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, began coordinating with their Mexican counterparts, and soon after, a cadre of Mexican military officials found a similar sinkhole on the Mexican side of the fence, about 10-to-12 feet south of the tunnel end found by contractors. After further excavation, Mexican military officials found an aluminum ladder in the hole, Daniels said. 

Mexican military officials removed the ladder, and law enforcement officials in both countries will continue to monitor and inspect the tunnel, said Daniels. 

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A Yuma Sector Border Patrol agent stands near a sinkhole that appears to be part of a cross-border tunnel near the San Luis port of entry discovered on Monday by contractors.


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