The Nogales drug tunnel is with a length of 481 feet the largest drug tunnel ever found in the city which spans through two countries. The tunnel, which ran from one house in Nogales in Arizona to another house in Nogales in Sonora, Mexico, stretched 411 feet from the United States to the international border and continued 70 feet into Mexico. According to a Feb. 14, 2014, USA Today report, “the drug tunnel found Monday is the third uncovered in Nogales since December.”
Nogales is popular among drug smugglers because the two cities in both countries have large neighborhoods in close proximity. The underground drainage system connecting both border cities makes underground access between the two cities easy.
“Last fiscal year, six of the seven tunnels found along the U.S.-Mexico border were found in Nogales. In 2012, seven of the 16 tunnels found on the border were in Nogales, and 12 of the 18 the year before that, according to U.S. Customs and Border Protection.”
During Monday’s multiagency operation, federal authorities seized more than 640 pounds of marijuana and a half pound of heroin.
Three men, 22-year-old Jesus Alberto Ramirez-Valencia, 41-year-old Jose Solorzano-Flores, and 41-year-old Jose Mario Armenta-Valdez, were arrested. Valencia was from Nogales in Arizona, while Flores and Valdez were from Nogales in Mexico. All three men were charged with drug conspiracy charges.
The passageway of the Nogales drug tunnel was about 2 feet wide and 3 feet tall. It featured wood shoring, electric lighting and fans to circulate air.