A Mexican law enforcement official in early 2020 inspects an incomplete tunnel found in the floor of the drainage system leading from Mexico to Nogales, Ariz.

In late October 2020, Border Patrol agents discovered a hand-dug tunnel under the border fence on West International Street in Nogales, about a half-mile west of the DeConcini Port of Entry.

The narrow passageway stretched just 10 feet, with an entry point in Mexico and a two-foot-by-two-foot exit about a yard north of the fence. It was likely being used, or was intended to be used, to move illegal drugs into the United States.


This 481-foot tunnel discovered in 2014 was not only the longest ever found in Nogales, it was also relatively sophisticated, at least by local standards. Roughly two feet wide by three feet tall, it contained wood shoring, electric lighting and fans to circulate air inside.


Tunnelers have even burrowed under federal installations in Nogales. Seen here in March 2019, the pavement gave way in a vehicle lane leading to the Dennis DeConcini Port of Entry. U.S. Customs and Border Protection described the incident as “a partial collapse of a previously remediated tunnel.”


This van, seized in 2010, had a crude trap door cut in its floor. Authorities said smugglers would park the van above a tunnel opening in a downtown parking spot, then use the trap door to collect drug bundles passed from the tunnel.

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