ICE Admits It Missed Yet Another Tunnel at Nogales

By David North, February 19, 2013

The headline on the ICE press release is more positive, if less telling, than the one above; it reads "Nogales Tunnel Task Force Shuts Down Cross-border Tunnel".

It is another account of how Mexican drug traffickers, using patience and medieval skills, have managed to dig yet another tunnel under the border, a tunnel that our enforcement people noticed only when large bundles of marijuana started showing up on our side of the line.

As I reported in an earlier blog, despite the availability of space-age technology for tunnel detection, our people are being outwitted again and again by crooks wielding nothing more advanced than shovels.

In that October 22, 2012 blog, I complained that:

The tunnels continue to plague our border forces, and sometimes are found within less than a mile of our high-tech, heavily-manned, 24-7 ports of entry.

The latest one fits that description all too well; it was, according to the press release, "approximately 200 yards east of the Morley Pedestrian Gate", which is part of the port of entry at Nogales, Ariz.

The two cities of Nogales are adjacent to each other — the tunnel was not out in the desert somewhere.

In fact, one end of the 68-foot tunnel was in someone's front yard 26 feet on the other side of the border, and the U.S. end was 42 feet inside our side of the border. The tunnel was said to be two feet wide, and let's assume only four feet high. That means that fully 544 cubic feet of soil and rock, or 42 tons of the spoil, had to be moved out of the tunnel some nine yards away from the U.S. border without anyone noticing, and all of this within an easy stroll of one of the ports of entry!

Don't we have paid informers on the other side? Aren't there little devices that can detect digging noises? Why aren't there panes of one-way glass every 10 yards or so in the fence?

Let's assume for the moment that the press release from Immigration and Customs Enforcement was completely honest. It said that:

Federal authorities ... were conducting surveillance in Nogales ... and observed a van in a parking lot at the south end of Nelson Avenue ... after noticing suspicious activity, the investigators approached the van, which was loaded with marijuana bundles. Two men near the van attempted to flee on foot, but were apprehended by task force officers ... and taken into custody.

This activity led, apparently, to the detection of the tunnel.

I would have mildly preferred that this was not a totally accurate account of what happened. I would have preferred to learn that the Border Patrol, using an unspecified methodology, had discovered the tunnel-building in process, then waited for its completion, and its first use as a smuggling device, so that they could not only close down the tunnel (filling it with cement), but also arrest some of the crooks and seize some marijuana to use as evidence.

But it probably happened just as described in the press release.

My question is: How many months (or weeks) will we have to wait for the next ICE press release on the belated discovery of yet another tunnel near yet another port of entry?