6 Images

Under Nogales

Searching for smugglers a mile inside a drainage tunnel, Border Patrol agent Jim Amstedz yanks open a steel gate that defines the U.S./Mex. border. Scott Connors,(L) and Scott Wencel hold weapons at the ready. (Don Bartletti / LAT)
Border Patrol agent Jim Amstedz inspects a drain tube for migrants. Discarded jackets are evidence that a group climbed into the tube and out onto the street above. The cavernous drain tunnel leads to Mexico. (Don Bartletti / LAT)
Recently discarded blankets and clothing line a 3-ft-high culvert. (Don Bartletti / LAT)
Nogales, AZ. U.S.Border Patrol agents Raul Chacon (L) and Heriberto Ortiz ride their bicycles through downtown. They pay special attention to manhole covers and curbside drainage openings for signs they are being used by illegal immigrants and smugglers. (Don Bartletti / LAT)
U.S.Border Patrol tunnel specialist Mario Cano spots a smuggler’s flashlight left inside a streetside drain. (Don Bartletti / LAT)
With stylish pink concrete and shatterproof windows, this 15-ft-high section of fence defines the international border between Nogales, Arizona on the left and Nogales, Sonora, Mexico. Few illegal immigrants attempt to scale it. However, deep beneath the fence is a huge rainwater channel that crosses the border. (Don Bartletti / LAT)