Blog dedicated to reporting on Mexican drug cartels
on the border line between the US and Mexico

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Drug Smugglers Tunnel Into Arizona Parking Spaces

By Randy Kreider
ABC News
Drug smugglers are endlessly creative when it comes to inventing ways to move marijuana, cocaine and other contraband from Mexico into the United States.

In the latest innovation uncovered by law enforcement, smugglers in the border town of Nogales, Arizona were bringing drugs into the U.S. for the cost of a quarter.

The parking meters on International Street, which hugs the border fence in Nogales, cost 25 cents. Smugglers in Mexico tunneled under the fence and under the metered parking spaces, and then carefully cut neat rectangles out of the pavement. Their confederates on the U.S. side would park false-bottomed vehicles in the spaces above the holes, feed the meters, and then wait while the underground smugglers stuffed their cars full of drugs from below.

When the exchange was finished, the smugglers would use jacks to put the pavement "plugs" back into place. The car would drive away, and only those observers who were looking closely would notice the seams in the street.

In all, U.S. Border Patrol agents found 16 tunnels leading to the 18 metered parking spaces on International Street. The pavement is now riddled with neat, symmetrical patches.

"It's unbelievable," Nogales mayor Arturo Garino told Tucson, Arizona ABC affiliate KGUN. "Those are the strides these people take to get the drugs across the border."

Past methods of smuggling have included catapults that launch bales of drugs across the border fence. "The [smugglers] have tried everything," said Garino, "and this is one of the most ingenious [methods] of them all.

The city, advised by Homeland Security, has agreed to remove the parking meters. Nogales stands to lose $8,500 annually in parking revenue, plus the cost of citations.

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  1. To heck with selling drugs, I'm going in to the parking space business. Seriously folks, if you govern a section of our country's border, be vigilant toward all possible incursions. Get off of your seat cushion and get in touch with the real world. Walk the street, get the feel of your assigned area of responsibility. Tunnels are not a new trend. Ground penetrating sonar can be costly but using your eyes, ears and brain are basically free aside from the cost of your salary.

  2. Ground penetrating sonar was expensive a long time ago. Cities use them for all sorts of underground work. And I knew us Mexicans were good with a shovel, but I didn't know we were like the Vietcong! I've heard that Mexicali is full of tunnels that were dug by the Chinese a long time ago. What a shit job!

  3. The plugs look suspicious.

  4. Reminds me of the berlin wall where people would do anything to get across.

  5. Anyone who has ever cut out patches of pavement knows that it generates lots of noise and dust.

    Even more so Portland Cement concrete pavement which is what at least some of these areas of pavement looks like though it's a bit hard to tell in the video.

    The question is, did they saw-cut the pavement from above or below?

    Cutting it from below would be difficult, depending on the thickness of the pavement and the dust would make breathing impossible in a small tunnel without respirators or good dust masks.

    As far as the patches or "plugs" as they refer to them as, some could be poured in place with rapid setting concrete and others could be cold-patch asphalt tamped into place. It's hard to analyze from the video fully without actually being on site to look at it. High quality close up photos would give a better idea of what was taking place.

    Anyone have any details as to the exact step by step methodology that was used? There is a lot of information missing from the MSM reporting on it.


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