clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

2nd drug tunnel found in border town

TUCSON, Ariz. — Federal agents have discovered a second tunnel that was apparently used to smuggle drugs across the Mexican border.

The 30-foot tunnel discovered Wednesday leads from a sewer system to a carwash in Nogales, Ariz., about a half-mile from the border. Another tunnel had been found Monday leading from a sewer to a home in the same town.

Agents found the second tunnel while serving warrants in a drug investigation unrelated to the discovery of the first tunnel, said Jim Molesa, a Drug Enforcement Administration spokesman.

The tunnel took the form of a 16-inch-wide pipe through which drugs were pushed, authorities said. Agents searching the pipe found about 350 pounds of marijuana, with a street value of about $300,000.

Four people were arrested, but no names or charges were immediately released because the warrants and indictments were sealed.

In all, authorities have found seven tunnels in Nogales since 1995. The discoveries highlight the scope of the drug-trafficking problem, Molesa said.

"They're out there, and we're looking for them," he said. "There's so many out there you can stumble on them."

Agents from the DEA, the U.S. Customs Service and the Santa Cruz County Metro Task Force had been investigating a drug operation for five months when they uncovered the second tunnel.

Molesa said drugs were brought from Mexico to the tunnel in Nogales through an underground sewage line. About 30 feet from the Los Amigos Car Wash, they were fed through the pipe. The pipe was too small to crawl through, unlike the 25-foot-long tunnel discovered Monday.

Molesa said the people trafficking drugs at the carwash "are basically independent entrepreneurs working for a variety of cartels." He said the drugs originated in Colombia and crossed through Mexico on their way to the United States.