Incomplete smuggling tunnel found in Nogales by Border Patrol, Mexican police
Border Patrol agents and Mexico's Federal Police discovered an incomplete cross-border tunnel in Nogales Wednesday afternoon, authorities said.
The incomplete tunnel was found inside a cross-border storm drain that runs into the United States from Mexico, about 75 yards west of the Dennis DeConcini border crossing in downtown Nogales, said a spokesman for the Border Patrol's Tucson Sector.
The tunnel did not open to the U.S., but rested more than a dozen feet below a parking lot in Nogales, Ariz. Officials said the tunnel was about 17 feet long, and extended about 12 feet into the U.S., beneath the border fence that remains topped with razor wire installed by National Guard troops last fall.
The tunnel was discovered during a "cooperative bi-national tunnel sweep," by agents "trained in illicit tunnel detection," with Mexico's Federal Police, as well as agents with the Border Patrol's International Liaison Unit.
U.S. Border Patrol agents and Mexican police explored the tunnel and found "various digging and cutting tools," the spokesman said. No one has arrested in connection with the discovery at this time, he said.
Authorities in Mexico and the United States will monitor and inspect the incomplete tunnel until it is secured and remediated, which usually involves sealing the tunnel with concrete.
In March, a traffic lane at the DeConcini port was closed after a remediated tunnel collapsed, causing a minor disruption to traffic at the port.
Last December, Border Patrol agents conducting a similar sweep found an incomplete 50-foot tunnel that extended about 44 feet into the United States just beneath the port's parking lot.
Overall, Border Patrol agents in the Tucson Sector alone have found 119 tunnels, many of them in the Nogales area.