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Man sentenced on drug charges after tunnel found under Nogales house

Special agents with Homeland Security Investigations- Phoenix execute federal arrest and search warrants related to a human smuggling investigation. (Twitter photo/@HSIPhoenix)

PHOENIX — A resident of Mexico was sentenced to over three years in prison by a U.S. district court judge on Thursday for drug offenses after authorities discovered a tunnel under a Nogales, Arizona, house he was renting.

Jovany Alonso Robledo-Delgado, 35, of Sonora, Mexico, was sentenced to 41 months in federal prison, followed by five years of supervised release, The U.S. Attorney’s Office announced in a press release.

In December 2019, federal agents obtained a search warrant for the house Robledo-Delgado was renting in Nogales on the Arizona side of the border, according to the release.

Agents discovered a tunnel under the house that led to the International Outfall Interceptor, a wastewater pipeline that begins at the Mexican border and flows north to a plant that treats wastewater from Nogales, Sonora, and cities in Arizona.

Robledo-Delgado told agents he constructed the tunnel “so he could breach the IOI and retrieve packages of drugs that floated through the IOI from Mexico into the United States,” according to the release.

He was allegedly being paid around $3,000 for each smuggling attempt.

When agents executed the warrant, they found Robledo-Delgado hiding under a bed and large quantities of illegal drugs, according to the release.

Robledo-Delgado pleaded guilty to conspiracy to import methamphetamine, cocaine, fentanyl and heroin.

CORRECTION: Earlier versions of this story incorrectly said the tunnel was found under a house in Tucson.

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