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Crime Trackers: Naco drug tunnel considered longest in Arizona - KVOA | KVOA.com | Tucson, Arizona

Crime Trackers: Naco drug tunnel considered longest in Arizona

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NACO - "This was an obvious attempt to dig under the fence past the agents past the technology and come up in a concealed place," said Deputy Patrol agent, Kevin Hecht.

Hecht is the Deputy Patrol agent in charge in Nogales. He has spent half of his 20 year career with the Border Patrol Tunnel Unit.

The Naco tunnel was found last week. Federal agents said over two tons of marijuana, valued at $3 million, was smuggled through it.

The tunnel is currently being investigated by federal agents and Bisbee Police Department officers.

The Naco tunnel is said to be Arizona's longest cross border tunnel. It's complete with hydraulics, ventilation and lighting.

“[The tunnel] did have electrical unit, and pointed to a light bulb that was used when there was power,” said Hecht.

Hecht has seen many tunnels during his 10 years on the U.S. Border Patrol's tunnel team. He considers this one as sophisticated as the ones he seen in San Diego. 

“Right here is the hydraulic pump lines that ran from this path to the hydraulic lift that was at the exit, and there's a similar one at the entrance in Mexico,” he said.

Most of tunnel is on the U.S. side of the border. According to the tunnel team, no dirt was ever taken out on the U.S. side. It appeared that all the dirt was hauled to Mexico. Also, they believe it took six months to a year to complete it.

The agents are still trying to determine how long the tunnel had been used.

“Right now, we have a receiver and Sande, and we're doing transmitting from inside the tunnel to the surface," said Hecht. "[We] are tracing the path of the tunnel to see if structures or streets are affected, and to make sure there's no threat of any home or street collapsing in the interest of Public Safety.”

The tunnel team travels with a trailer filled with everything from generators to the robotics gear. 

“You can run you can hide but eventually you're going to get caught,” he said.

The tunnel will be filled within the next 30 to 45 days and Border Patrol agents will be guarding it around the clock to make sure that it doesn't get used again.

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