Photo: U.S. Department of Homeland Security
U.S. authorities have announced the location of what is believed to be the largest drug smuggling tunnel near the U.S.-Mexico border in the city of Nogales, Arizona.
Nogales has and continues to be the epicenter of narco-built tunnels. Over 100 tunnels have been discovered in the area since 1990 and three since December of last year. Narcos like to take advantages of Nogales’ vast underground drainage system and its proximity to the Mexican border.
This tunnel, discovered by Immigration and Customs authorities, measures nearly 500 feet long. 411 feet were located within the U.S. and the remainder was inside Mexico. The 4-foot high by 3-foot wide tunnel was well constructed with electricity and fans operating inside. The tunnel connected two houses on either side of the border, one in Nogales, Sonora and the other in Nogales, Arizona. The expansive tunnel is believed to have been used to smuggle pot and other drugs. When authorities discovered the tunnel they also found 46 pounds of marijuana and a half a pound of heroin within the tunnel.
The house on the U.S. side of the border was under surveillance for drug activity when the tunnel was discovered. One U.S. citizen and two Mexican nationals were arrested in Nogales and charged with drug trafficking.
Earlier this year the U.S. Border Patrol announced a plan to use robots to patrol tunnels along the border to fight drug trafficking and illegal immigration. Two robots were specifically going to be used in Nogales, Arizona in hopes of preventing smuggler from converting water drainage pipes to drug tunnel.