Smuggling tunnel discovered during routine border inspection - Tucson News Now

Smuggling tunnel discovered during routine border inspection

TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) -

Federal authorities have shut down the sixth cross-border smuggling tunnel in the Nogales area for fiscal year 2013.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials say the tunnel was discovered Tuesday under Grand Avenue during a routine, bi-national storm drain system inspection.

Upon further investigation by U.S. and Mexican authorities, a concrete access panel was discovered to be embedded in the storm drain floor. Underneath was an illicit tunnel which held tools, a core drill and forced air ventilation, officials say.

Investigators estimate the tunnel to be around 160 feet long, with 153 feet being in the United States and the remaining seven in Mexico. It is also two feet wide and three feet tall.

The tunnel, which was assumed to be in the final stages of construction, would have exited on the U.S. side in a public parking lot near the Dennis DeConcini port of entry.

Investigators also found two exposed fiber optic lines, a storm drain pipe and a water line in the tunnel passageway.

Officials say no people or drugs were found inside and no arrests have been made in the ongoing investigation, conducted by the Nogales Tunnel Task Force and U.S. Border Patrol, in partnership with Mexican federal police.

Copyright 2013 Tucson News Now. All rights reserved.

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