2 Nogales Tunnels Found; Group of 17 Bolivians Halted

Stephen Ceasar, Arizona Daily Star (Tucson), December 16, 2008

Two tunnels were discovered in Nogales over the weekend by Nogales police officers, making a four-day total of three tunnels found in the border city.

Elsewhere, U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers stopped 17 people from entering the United States using fraudulent Canadian citizenship cards at the Douglas port of entry.

Officers patrolling an area near downtown Nogales discovered a tunnel east of the Dennis DeConcini Port of Entry about 6 p.m. Friday, said Mario Escalante, U.S. Border Patrol Tucson Sector spokes-man. Its opening was about 8 feet north of the border fence and hidden by weeds and a piece of plywood, Escalante said.

Agents sent a remote-controlled robot into the tunnel and determined that it was about 10 feet long and originated about 2 feet south of the border.

The second tunnel was found by Nogales police working under Operation Stonegarden, a government-funded program to combat illegal immigration, said Escalante. {snip}

The excavation was inside the Grand Avenue drainageway, a 20-foot-wide tunnel built to divert floodwater but used by smugglers as an avenue into the United States.

{snip}

There have been eight tunnels found in the Tucson Sector in the current fiscal year, which began in October. In fiscal year 2008, authorities found 14 tunnels.

From October 2002 through September 2008 a total of 34 tunnels were found, the agency says.

{snip}

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