Friday, January 14, 2011

U.S.-Mexican cooperation leads to tunnel discoveries

Nogales International
January 14, 2010

A collaborative effort between U.S. and Mexican authorities led to the discovery of two border tunnels last weekend in Ambos Nogales.

According to the U.S. Border Patrol, the tunnels were discovered Sunday during a joint tunnel sweep along the border fence west of the Dennis DeConcini Port of Entry.

Both tunnels were incomplete, under construction and approximately two feet wide by three feet tall, the Border Patrol said in a news release. One tunnel had entered the United States, extending approximately 10 feet into the country.

The Border Patrol said open lines of communication with Mexican authorities have led U.S. authorities to a number of mutually beneficial, intelligence-driven operations – including tunnel detections.

“Border Patrol agents, in partnership with law enforcement agencies and communities on both sides of the border, continue to be proactive in detecting these illicit tunnels which compromise border security and the structural integrity structures they are built under,” said Manuel Padilla, Jr., division chief of the agency’s Tucson Sector “Binational cooperation has allowed both countries to make major strides in achieving our common goals of making both countries safer.”

Sunday’s discoveries mark the second and third suspected smuggling tunnels found in the area so far in 2011. On Jan. 3, Mexican officials located the mouth of a tunnel in an abandoned house on Calle Internacional in Nogales, Sonora, west of the DeConcini port.

An announcement by the Mexican military said the tunnel was dug about 5 feet beneath the surface and stretched almost 100 feet, apparently just far enough to reach U.S. territory. However, the tunnel had no exit point. the Mexican Army’s 45th Military Zone command said.

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