Smugglers cut garage-size hole through part of US-Mexico fence; rains knock down other section

Astrid Galvan / The Associated Press
July 30, 2014 11:27 AM

A repair crew's ladder leans against a section of the border fence under repair near Nogales, Ariz., Sunday, July 27, 2014, after suspected smugglers made a garage-sized hole in the steel barrier that divides the U.S. and Mexico. It was one of two incidents this past weekend that left parts of the fence down after floods from rainstorms knocked down a 60-feet stretch of fence. (AP Photo/Nogales International, Curt Prendergast)

TUCSON, Ariz. - U.S. Border Patrol officials said Wednesday that agents discovered a garage-sized hole through a steel fence that divides the United States and Mexico.

The announcement was the second one this week about problems with the border fence. On Sunday, agents found that runoff water from rainstorms during the weekend had also knocked down 60 feet (18 metres) of the rebar-reinforced steel fence just west of the Nogales-Mariposa Port of Entry in Arizona.

The hole in a section of the fence just east of Nogales, Arizona, was discovered by agents on Saturday.

The Border Patrol says 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.

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.

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 (4-meter-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 and the suspected smugglers fled. The Jeep was empty, but agents said they believe it was filled with contraband before it got stuck.

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Follow Astrid Galván on Twitter: https://twitter.com/astridgalvan


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