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Border fence fails to end drug smuggling

Sept. 28, 2011 at 2:17 PM
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NOGALES, Ariz., Sept. 28 (UPI) -- A new border fence in Nogales, Ariz., is no barrier to drug smugglers who simply make narcotics hand-offs between the fence's re-enforced bars, officials said.

The Santa Cruz County Metro Task Force says its investigators discovered a number of oddly shaped bundles of marijuana during a recent drug seizure, the Nogales International reported Tuesday.

Forty-eight pounds of marijuana had been wrapped in thin tubular packages investigators say they believe were slipped through the fence, which has interconnected, concrete-filled steel tubes with an approximately 4-inch open space between them.

Task force Lt. Gerry Castillo dubbed the transfers "boom-boom" hand-offs in which someone on the Mexico side quickly pushes a package through to a person on the U.S. side before fleeing.

Passing contraband through the fence is nothing new and smugglers use "any method they can conceive of," Border Patrol Agent Eric Cantu said.

The $11.6-million, 2.8-mile border fence was completed this summer following a groundbreaking in March.

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