An illicit tunnel running under the Dennis DeConcini Port of Entry caused the pavement to collapse a few feet south of one of the port’s trusted-traveler vehicle lanes on Thursday.
According to the Hermosillo-based newspaper El Imparcial, a public works crew in Nogales, Sonora responded to a report of a pavement problem near the port at around 9 a.m. Thursday and discovered the tunnel.
The passageway was less than three feet below the roadway and extended seven meters (23 feet) before ending at a concrete structure under the U.S.-Mexico border, El Imparcial reported, adding that items including a fan, metal bar and clothing were found inside the tunnel.
In a statement issued Friday, U.S. Customs and Border Protection described the incident as “a partial collapse of a previously remediated tunnel.”
In a similar incident from August 2010, authorities discovered a clandestine passageway beneath the DeConcini port after a passenger bus broke through the pavement at the facility. It wasn't clear if the remediated tunnel from that incident was the one involved in the most recent roadway collapse.
The incident on Thursday “caused minor disruptions to traffic,” CBP said, adding that an adjacent lane was “immediately opened to allow travelers into the U.S.”
“The Government of Mexico is making the necessary road repairs,” the statement added. A photo posted to the El Imparcial website on Friday morning showed a cement mixer pouring concrete into the collapsed area.