New clandestine tunnel found near Nogales

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TUCSON - The following is a release from the U.S. Customs and Border Protection:

Border Patrol agents assigned to the Nogales Station identified another clandestine tunnel near Downtown Nogales.

Border Patrol Agents assigned to the Nogales Station were patrolling an area near downtown Nogales when they discovered an illicit manmade clandestine tunnel.The tunnel's exit was located about one foot away from the International Boundary fence and was estimated to be about 12 by 19 inches wide. The exit point of the tunnel was covered with a piece of foam and dirt to conceal the opening. The tunnel is two feet deep and runs southeast back into Mexico, about 15 feet of the tunnel was identified by using a remote controlled robot. In coordination with Mexican authorities, the origin of the tunnel was determined to be through the main Grand Avenue Tunnel on the Mexican side of the border. The Nogales Station Welding Crew has welded a grate over the entry, until a permanent remediation has been completed.

Both the Drug Enforcement Administration and Immigration and Customs enforcement have been notified of the discoveries. Between FY2003 and FY2008, 34 separate tunnels have been identified and filled within the Tucson Sector. So far during fiscal year 2009, six tunnels have been discovered.

In response to effective border security efforts, smugglers are resorting to more sophisticated and dangerous methods to smuggle humans, drugs and other contraband.Clandestine tunnels continue to compromise the structural integrity of our infrastructure and its intended design.