Sunday, February 15, 2009

Border Patrol building tunnel barrier in Nogales, Ariz.

February 14, 2009

NOGALES, Ariz. – The U.S. Border Patrol says it is building an underground barrier along the U.S.- Mexico border in Nogales in an effort to thwart smugglers from digging tunnels.

A 12-foot-deep concrete and steel headwall along a 100-yard stretch of the border near the DeConcini Port of Entry is expected to be finished this weekend. The project aims to stop smugglers who have dug a series of tunnels in recent years in the area.

Concrete slurry will also be pumped into existing tunnels to permanently block them.

Nogales is separated from its larger neighbor of Nogales, Mexico by fencing, and a large system of flood control channels and drainage tunnels connect the two cities, allowing easy access for tunnelers on the Mexican side.

Border Patrol station chief Alan White says the wall is the largest anti-tunneling project in Nogales history.

The tunnel remediation project began on Tuesday and ended today.

Border Patrol agents say in this fiscal year, which began in October, they have found 9 tunnels. They found 13 in the last fiscal year.

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