ONLY ON KOLD: Cartel lookout homes revealed - Tucson News Now

ONLY ON KOLD: Cartel lookout homes revealed

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TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) -  The border crisis has all eyes on the surge of illegal immigrants pouring into Texas with transports coming to Southern Arizona.

But even as the surge continues so does the border battle happening on the Arizona-Mexico divide.

Just on the other side of the border fence in Nogales sits a house on a hill, believed to belong to the cartel.

When you asking border patrol officials about it, they refuse to talk but there was a warning. Don't go near it.

It can be seen from almost any point in east Nogales. Just across the Arizona-Mexico border, high on a hill, sits a home with an ominous reputation.

Most people passing through might never notice it. But according to law enforcement officials and locals, the lookouts inside will likely see you.

"That particular house has been used to kind of maintain surveillance over this area. It obviously has to do with the Sinaloa cartel," said Santa Cruz County Sheriff Tony Estrada.

Estrada escorted cameras through the winding neighborhood that sits parallel to the home.

"The terrain obviously lends itself for people to come across and conceal themselves. It's difficult to access too. There’s no road," Estrada said.

To the east, Customs and Border Protection agents are posted along the border fence. On the west side of the home are fixed cameras. But according to folks who live here, neither one does a good job stopping drug smugglers.

A neighbor who did not want to be identified said, "They'll cross through here. What I've seen is the house on the corner, they stash illegal drugs there."

Another neighbor pointed out that the camera crew was being watched by someone on the property.

"I see like four. If you guys can zoom up there, you'll see them. They're just sitting there and they'll do that almost on a daily basis. They're waiting to cross," said the neighbor.

Through the lens of a camera the news crew could see one of the men using what looked like binoculars to check on them. Seconds later, he stood up and made a phone call.

"Border Patrol is right there now. So he's watching. So they're watching each other. So when they have a shift change, that's when they cross," the neighbor said.

Estrada called what's going on a threat.

"We actually find it as an advantage they have," Estrada said.

Estrada said there's not much more law enforcement can do to stop the flow of drugs through the corridor.

"When you're looking at activity 24/7, it's very difficult to have personnel in this whole area. There is 50 miles of border that we have with Mexico," Estrada said. "You can see that even here you have all this type of activity. Imagine what happens further out in more remote places."

Sheriff Estrada says this isn't the only lookout house in the area and there are likely many more.

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