ICE reported on last Wednesday that Nogales, Arizona Tunnel Task Force shut down a just completed, cross-border drug smuggling tunnel and seized more than 1,200 pounds of marijuana. In a multi-agency effort a surveillance was conducted in Nogales, around noon last Wednesday, when they observed a van in a parking lot at the south end of Nelson Avenue. The van was approached after observing suspicious activities. Upon approaching the van, two men standing nearby fled on foot, but were apprehended by task force officers, not far from the tunnel and taken into custody.
The crude, hand-dug tunnel is approximately 68-feet-long and averages approximately two feet wide. The passageway does not contain any wooden shoring, ventilation or electrical equipment. The tunnel entrance is located in the front yard of a private residence in Nogales, Mexico, and runs for approximately 26-feet underground before passing under the international boundary and running 42-feet on the U.S. side of the border. The tunnel exits on an embankment at the south end of Nelson Avenue. The tunnel location closely parallels a March 2012 drug tunnel discovered in the same location.
Once inside the tunnel Task Force officers seized 29 bundles of marijuana, as well as the 22 bundles of marijuana that was found in the van. Border Patrol agents will guard the tunnel as the investigation is ongoing and until the tunnel is rendered unusable.
In the last three years, federal authorities have discovered and shut down 26 completed, cross-border smuggling tunnels in the Nogales area.