Border agents discover tunnel, 53 illegal immigrants

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TUCSON - The following is a press release from the Department of Homeland Security:

Arizona Border

Tunnel discovered near border

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U.S. Border Patrol agents from the Tucson Sector made a significant discovery and arrest in less than 24 hours.In one incident, a group of fifty-three illegal aliens were arrested near the village on the Tohono O'odham Indian Reservation.In a separate incident, a smuggler's illicit tunnel was discovered in Nogales, Arizona.

Last Friday, agents from the Casa Grande Border Patrol Station were patrolling near a village on the Tohono O'odham Indian Reservation, when they encountered footprints of a large group of illegal aliens.Agents tracked the footprints and ultimately arrested fifty-three Mexican Nationals who were illegally in the United States.All individuals were transported to the Casa Grande Border Patrol Station for further processing.

In a separate incident, agents from the Nogales Border Patrol Station working west of the DeConcini Port of Entry discovered a smuggler's tunnel.Nogales' agents have become adept at detecting tunnels in the area due to the volume of tunnels that have been discovered.This particular tunnel was dug under the border and then cut into the preexisting drainage system.The tunnel was discovered approximately fifty feet north of the border.Since October 2008, there have been eleven tunnels discovered in the Tucson Sector this Fiscal Year.There were six tunnels revealed in Fiscal Year 2008 during this same time period. Clandestine tunnels compromise the structural integrity of our infrastructure and its intended design.

In response to effective border security efforts and continued partnerships between local, state and federal law enforcement agencies, smugglers are resorting to more complex and dangerous methods in their attempts to smuggle their contraband. As Tucson Sector expands operational control through technology, manpower and implementing the Border Patrol Strategy; it has continued to increase its effectiveness.From October to April of Fiscal Year 2009, the Tucson Sector Border Patrol has arrested over 140,000 individuals.This is a 31% decrease from last fiscal year numbers for the same time period.