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Going inside the drug tunnel

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Going inside the drug tunnel

CREATED Mar 6, 2013 - UPDATED: Mar 7, 2013

Reporter:  Jennifer Waddell

TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) - You can't have a down day when you're tracking drug tunnels along the US-Mexico border.   KGUN9 gets access to the drug tunnels that are creating a patchwork along Nogales, Arizona as we watch special agents in action.

Kevin Hecht and Tom Pittman, partners for about 7 years, get down under and dirty, busting the burrows as they pop up.  From drugs, to weapons, to illegal immigrants, they've just about seen it all.

While they have technology to keep them safe, like a 75 pound robot that can crawl through the tunnels, there's no replacement for manpower.  Talking about the conditions underground, Hecht says, "it's more claustrophobic where your head's on the top of the tunnel and your chin is in the dirt and you're crawling on your elbows, under and over lines, exposing utilities, sewer lines dripping, going through water."

As they find the tunnels popping up, sometimes daily, they're in close contact with Mexican authorities.  Once they're clear and the contraband is confiscated, agents Hecht and Pittman work with the rest of the tunnel team to seal them up with concrete.

Agents know the smugglers will find other ways to dig through, but they also have a message for those smugglers.  Pittman says, "just keep digging so we can keep finding them. Keep us employed!"