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Nogales — Center of U.S. and Mexican Border Crime

February 17, 2014
Plain English Version
The newly found border tunnel.

The newly found border tunnel.

U.S. border officials found the longest tunnel ever, running between Nogales, Sonora and Nogales, Arizona. The tunnel was used for drug trafficking.

Bridging 481 feet, the tunnel ended in a house in each city. Forty-six pounds of pot were found in the U.S. house. Another 590 pounds of the drug was found in a car stopped as it was leaving from the Arizona house.

More tunnels are being used as border enforcement improves. An official said that by using tunnels, “You do not run the risk of exposing your dope above ground by  human backpackers or smuggling through the port or over the fence. It’s completely concealed from start to finish.”

Since 1990, 169 tunnels have been found along the southern border. Most of them are in Nogales. Smugglers tap a system of underground drains  connecting the border cities.

Another battle is taking place above ground.

The Buenos Aires colonia (neighborhood) is in Nogales, Sonora . Officials say it is run by the drug cartels. They control the crossings of migrants and drug runners into Arizona.

Border Patrol agents say cartel lookouts watch them from hilltops. The cartels pay youths to throw rocks to distract or deter agents from catching crossers. Border agents call it “rocking.” Drug agents say rocks are deadly weapons.

Mexican advocates say the Border Patrol agents use lethal weapons against the rock throwers.  A review of use-of-force reports shows this is not true – almost all of the time. However, shootings are rare

Most of the agents carry pepper ball launchers. They also use automatic “paint ball” guns. They also use a device that shoots a form of rubber bullet. Not all agents carry these weapons.

There is no way to get around the danger of lethal force, whether from rocks or bullets. When an incident happens, all eyes go to investigating the circumstances.

Immigration reform is front and center in America. No matter how it comes out, drug smuggling will still be a problem on both sides of the border.

Source: The Arizona Republic                                                                                                        February 13, 2014


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