FREE e-Newsletter
Important News - Hot Topics
Get them Now!

Dynamic Plaques - FVT Plaques
FVT Plaques is introducing new dynamic plaques to recognize police and sheriff's...

Security Policy and the Cloud

Ask The Expert

Mark Rivera

FBI-CJIS Security Policy Compliance Officer

Mark Rivera, Customer Retention Manager and CJIS Security Compliance Officer with Vigilant Solutions, served for sixteen years with the Maryland State Police, retiring at the rank of First Sergeant with thirteen of those years at the supervisory and command level. He holds a Master of Science Degree in Management from The Johns Hopkins University and Secret clearance through the FBI, Baltimore.

Top News

Nogales PD's Pursuit Led to Smuggling Tunnel and Drug Load

October 04, 2010  | 

A Nogales (Ariz.) Police officer initiated the foot pursuit that eventually led to the discovery of one of two smuggling tunnels, an arrest and seizure of more than 800 pounds of marijuana worth more than $400,000, Chief Jeffrey Kirkham tells POLICE Magazine.

After encountering three suspicious people coming out of the Nogales wash area on the evening of Sept. 29, the Nogales officer attempted to contact them. When they fled, the officer chased them.

Additional assistance from Nogales officers and Border Patrol agents led to the seizure of the marijuana. Officers interviewed suspects who led them to the tunnel that used a storm drain at Nelson and International streets.

The tunnel was at the corner about 25 feet north of the border wall and 500 feet east from the foot traffic port of entry. The tunnel, which tapped into the Nogales drainage system, originated from a house in Mexico that has been the source of several prior tunnels. A steel grate opening on the street was used as an exit point on the U.S. side, Kirkham wrote in an e-mail to POLICE.

"There appears to be little cooperation to tear down these vacant dwellings and eliminate them from the area as a point of tunnel origination by the Mexican government," Kirkham wrote about the source house.

A vast network of hundreds of tunnels forms an underground netherworld that enables smuggling of drugs and people from the higher elevations on the Mexico side of the border.

"Nogales-Sonora, Mexico has a higher elevation than most of Nogales, Ariz., [and] as such it provides the terrain perfect to tunnel without risk until one gets to the lower elevation on the U.S. side of the border," Kirkham added. "The U.S. side of the border has engineered storm and sewer systems that can easily be tapped into. Many of the tunnels are dug to tie into existing U.S. drainage systems, thereby reducing the need to dig additional lengths of terrain. The water flow in the area is one that flows north thereby creating issues in itself when it rains."

The tunnel network is troubling to city works officials who say it has weakened the terrain and has put buildings at risk of collapse, reports the New York Times.

Tunnels that are discovered are sealed with concrete after assessments of origin, potential uses, and intelligence information has been gathered.

For pictures of the tunnels, view the New York Times coverage of the tunnel discovery.

Be the first to comment on this story

POLICE Magazine does not tolerate comments that include profanity, personal attacks or antisocial behavior (such as "spamming" or "trolling"). This and other inappropriate content or material will be removed. We reserve the right to block any user who violates this, including removing all content posted by that user.

Other Recent News

San Diego Officer Injured in Shooting Released From Hospital
After 25 days in a hospital, San Diego police Officer Wade Irwin, who took a bullet to the...
Video: Austin Police Detective Suspended Over Facebook Comments
The Austin (TX) Police Department suspended a detective they say posted inappropriate...
LA Suspect in Shootout with Police Died from Self-Inflicted Gunshot
The coroner's office said a man who was involved in a shootout with New Orleans police and...
Texas City Won't Allow Off-Duty Officers to Work Security at Bars
A change in an Odessa (TX) Police Department policy will leave local bars without off-duty...
Video: Baltimore Police Consult New Orleans PD After Justice Department Report
Harrison says the NOPD is well on its way to complying with the federal consent decree,...

Get Your FREE Trial Issue and Win a Gift! Subscribe Today!
Yes! Please rush me my FREE TRIAL ISSUE of POLICE magazine and FREE Officer Survival Guide with tips and tactics to help me safely get out of 10 different situations.

Just fill in the form to the right and click the button to receive your FREE Trial Issue.

If POLICE does not satisfy you, just write "cancel" on the invoice and send it back. You'll pay nothing, and the FREE issue is yours to keep. If you enjoy POLICE, pay only $25 for a full one-year subscription (12 issues in all). Enjoy a savings of nearly 60% off the cover price!

Offer valid in US only. Outside U.S., click here.
It's easy! Just fill in the form below and click the red button to receive your FREE Trial Issue.
First Name:
Last Name:
Zip Code:
We respect your privacy. Please let us know if the address provided is your home, as your RANK / AGENCY will not be included on the mailing label.
E-mail Address:

Police Magazine