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Drug tunnel discovered along border in Nogales

Posted at 6:27 PM, Mar 28, 2016
and last updated 2016-03-29 20:47:25-04

NOGALES, Ariz. (KGUN9-TV) - Mexican authorities discovered a drug tunnel just on the other side of the U.S.-Mexico border Monday afternoon.

The tunnel was found in a old, closed store on International Street in Sonora according to Mexican federal police officers. They say it was found unfinished.

The store is located about 50 yards from the Morley Avenue crossing.

Border Patrol released a statement Tuesday saying the tunnel was about 80 feet long and unfinished. It extended about 30 feet into U.S. soil west of Morley Avenue. 

Nogales police say the haven't seen a tunnel on the east side of town in quite some time.

Federal agents have found more than 115 tunnels in the Tucson Sector since 1990, 110 of them were in the Nogales area alone. Border Patrol says there have been 188 tunnel discoveries across the U.S. in the same time period making Nogales the tunnel capitol of the nation according to some. Tucson sector agents have found three tunnels since October 1, 2015. 

John Lawson, an operations officer with Border Patrol, says part of the reason for tunnels in Nogales is its terrain.

"There is very little space necessary to traverse to get from one side to the other. Plus Nogales has a lot of infrastructure up there. They have huge fences, cameras everywhere, they've got a lot of agents out there. It is very difficult for smugglers to get their product across so using a tunnel is just an example of the lengths they go to to try and outwit us," said Lawson.