TUCSON, Ariz. — The U.S. Border Patrol has another gap in the border fence
on its hands.
On Saturday, agents discovered a garage-sized hole through a steel fence that
divides the United States and Mexico just east of Nogales, Arizona.
On Sunday, they found that runoff water from rainstorms during the weekend had
also knocked down 60 feet of the rebar-reinforced steel fence just west of the
Nogales-Mariposa Port of Entry near Interstate 19 in Nogales. That fence stood
between 18 and 26 feet high and extended at least 7 feet underground.
The Border Patrol said it is working on repairs for both fences and has agents
monitoring the areas.
“Smugglers often attempt to cut border fences; dig under them; climb over
them; and even throw things over the fence,” Border Patrol spokeswoman Nicole
Ballistrea said in a written statement.
“As the Tucson Sector continues to
improve deterrence efforts along the border, smuggling organizations are finding
it more difficult to move their illicit goods into the interior of the United
States. Fencing infrastructure gives Border Patrol agents the time they need to
stop illegal cross-border activity.”
The storms that caused the fencing to topple began Friday in Sonora, Mexico,
and resumed Saturday night until Sunday morning, when debris from the Mexican
side of the border traveled through a wash and piled up against the border
The fence was built in 2011. It is constantly monitored by agents because
smugglers and others who attempt to cross illegally routinely try to breach or
knock down parts of it.
The Border Patrol said it does not keep track of fence breaches or attempted
breaches, but it does have a special unit devoted to finding and destroying
underground tunnels used to smuggle drugs.
Whether it’s cutting through steel fences with special tools or building long
and elaborate tunnels, smugglers have no shortage of creative ways to try to
bypass the law and sneak drugs into the U.S.
In 2012, suspected smugglers who tried to use ramps to drive an SUV over a
14-foot-tall border fence in southeast corner of California became stuck on top
of the barrier. Border Patrol agents found the Jeep teetering atop the fence
about five miles west of the Colorado River and the Arizona state line. The
suspected smugglers fled. The Jeep was empty, but agents said they believe it
was filled with contraband before it got stuck.
Last month, agents in Arizona spotted a truck made to look like it
belonged to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, a federal agency. The decals on
the truck turned out to be fake but the 3,200 pounds of
marijuana in it were real.