Cross-Border Tunnel Discovered In Nogales
JUL 12 -- Phoenix, AZ – Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Acting Special Agent in Charge Douglas Hebert today announced the discovery of a cross border drug smuggling tunnel located beneath an apartment in Nogales, Arizona and extending to a drainage grate located on a major street in Nogales, Sonora, Mexico. The tunnel measured approximately 30 yards to the border and extended within a short distance to the drainage system on the Mexico side.
“Once again, team work led to the discovery of a tunnel. Although primitive in design, beginning in a drainage ditch, it was nevertheless responsible for pouring a poisonous product into our communities," said DEA Acting Special Agent in Charge Douglas Hebert. “DEA and its partners have denied drug traffickers another smuggling lane through Southern Arizona.”
On July 10, 2007, the U.S. Border Patrol (USPB) observed a Jeep Grand Cherokee leaving the area of North Dunbar Street in Nogales, Arizona. Upon observing the USBP, the driver of the jeep attempted to flee from the agents and subsequently crashed his vehicle. Agents recovered approximately 540 pounds of marijuana from inside the jeep and around the crash site. Both the driver (identified as Braulio Rubalcaba-Valenzuela) and passenger (identified as David Olmedo-Carrasco) were arrested.
Based on the information provided by USBP agents, DEA agents identified a possible stash house located at 20 North Dunbar St., Apartment #4.
On July 11, 2007, DEA, assisted by the Nogales Police Department, executed a search warrant at the residence of 20 North Dunbar Street, Apartment #4, in Nogales, Arizona where they discovered the exit point of a subterranean tunnel interconnecting Nogales, AZ and Nogales, Sonora, MX.
When agents entered the apartment, it was unoccupied and sparsely furnished. The tunnel was located inside the living room of the apartment, directly next to the front door. The shaft of the tunnel was reinforced in place with metal bars. The tunnel measures approximately two feet by three feet in diameter, and approximately six feet deep.
Both Rubalcaba-Valenzuela and Olmedo-Carrasco were arraigned in federal court yesterday and charged with Possession with Intent to Distribute Marijuana, in violation of Title 21, United States Code, Sections 841(a)(1) and 841(b)(1)(B)(vii). They remain in custody.
The tunnel will be permanently filled by DEA today. DEA, along with the Santa Cruz County Metro Task Force, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and Border Patrol are coordinating the ongoing investigation into the tunnel.
Digital photos of the tunnel can be viewed on www.dea.gov. Photos are also available upon request.
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