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339- The Tunnel

2019-01-29 | 🔗

In May of 1990, law enforcement raided a warehouse in Douglas, AZ and a private home across the border in Agua Prieta, Mexico. Connecting the two buildings, they found a tunnel, more sophisticated than anything anyone had seen before. The tunnel in Douglas became a kind of prototype for many tunnels afterwards and a hallmark of the Sinaloa Cartel.

The Tunnel

This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
This is ninety nine percent, invisible, I'm roman Mars, back in the nineteen eighties Kooky Skinner was rapporteur with a newspaper called the Arizona republic. He covered the trade and the border smell at a time in different parts of Mexico, but he was getting tired of travelling and of being a stranger in every place. He went. He wanted to They settled down in Mexico and to make a life that's what I thought about. Well, I would like to be part of a community in Mexico. If I lived here and knew what was going on here, I could buy files pretty good stories. Kiki move to grow pre ETA, a town right on the border, where he done some reporting before. Gabriela says just across the line from Douglas Arizona. The two cities are contiguous, One urban area that Spain's the border divided a towering rose, colored metal was esteemed concrete, ditch alone
Concertina wire, a mesh fence and key ok did what he had set out to do. He settled down and made a life there that's our own Delaney Hall. He built a house married a mexican women. Then you'd mastering the slinging Spanish of Northern Mexico and ended up having five kids. Our pre ETA became his home and the very light, but I will put it to the it wasn't: tourism oriented, but all those the mexican community and I was very intrigue by the town. For that reason. Yogi it up scaling back his full time reporting job. So he could open a smooth shop induce bar what better way get to know the city than to have a business here where people we'll come in and hang out and talk Listen and observe, and probably pick up a few good ideas for the occasional freelance story that came his way. He name this movie shop, L me today, listen and spanish. It means I like it: I support spot, or there is of a rock
this going on, for example, sirens going down the street They got a runs out to see where the where the cop cars are going and that's like Google where's the middle to what what's going on as a hubbub type thing, keeping the name because on occasion, he'd been accused of being a myth of ditto, all meaning, a nosy person. Someone who prize he wasn't working the full time journalist anymore, but that didn't mean he wasn't a reporter at heart. He loved collecting bits and pieces of information and asking questions figuring out what was real we going on, and so that's how. I got the name for my business and stuck it stuck in fact this day how many years later I'll run into people like a gas station and They'Ll- see me and they'll yell at me in Spanish Romeo Darrow admins lay blonde gas
I don't know my name, but they know I have the middle. It's kind of perfect, though, because it's also way. You first started to see evidence of this big conspiracy that was Going on there was things going on there that wasn't hard to start picking up stuff. Stuff that would eventually led guilty to one biggest and strangers stories he'd ever cover in other news today, so that one customs agents goes something out of James Bond at the store they involve the cocaine trade. Only last week, another six hundred pounds of cocaine were found, conceal the drug, about grew smaller. He has been the most wanted man in Mexico, marijuana cocaine met, heroin and murder are all part of his business and in it animal feed of engineering in architecture that would change the drug trade forever
It was nineteen, eighty nine when Quixote first started, noticing some new customers and the Jews shop with guys here, haven't really seen before they had a certain Wagner and attitude, and he says they often have body guards with them, which is not typical, before an out into the Dew shop Kibaki described them. As seen a lower cowboy types. So just when you say they sinhala cowboys would come in like what they look like. What are they act like real high in cowboy boots the leave eyes, the leather vest the White hats, they wear pickup truck with seal up lights. They all feel like you're kind above the law. They double pardon for my place in knitting. Give a damn. Airbus just stayed away from because they knew what was going on that these guys were in town, for some up some something, I can lead eightys the similar
cartel wasn't quite these sprawling dominant criminal organization. It's become today, but it was in that direction. The cartel a lot of the drug trafficking corner that ran through the mexican states of Sinaloa and Sonora. Then across them order into Arizona and onto big distribution points. Phoenix in LOS Angeles. Our pre ETA fell right along corridor. Yogi suspected that these guys in his do shop, buying their smooth he's with hundred dollar bills, were part of the cartel. He began observing them cautiously from a distance, but he also wasn't above marketing to their sensibilities and the big thing we hyped with them. Was we had drinks that we called a our fifteen? They look that one and then we had what we we're alfalfa drink. We hyped it is being eroded. Hangovers. So they would come in
but in my ever touching schemes will. Thus what they would have. This key Oki says is one of the rules of border towns. Even if the theory of trickle down economics doesn't really hope even if the theory of trickle down economics doesn't really holed up. In other places, a condom here we are dealing with. Border towns and drug trafficking. Trickle down economics is a valid idea, because in Mexico disguised on hoard, the money is spent on stuff like big. Says and fancy cars, not to mention bribes to local cops and politicians and businesses the narcos launder their money in general, Kyoto says drug traffickers tend to be pretty flash, but there was one new guy that stood apart from this in a lower cowboys with their leather, vests and high and boots. This guy dress more like a business man, his name,
was Francisco Roughy I'll, come arena mercy as one day he offered Yogi his business card and told him a little about what he was doing in town Governor Elect, to be a lawyer, Atilla Hata, the store then I got from him when he came into my juice bar at one time was that he was a contractor in he was gonna the houses and I will create them, come in. I also told Yogi than he was pursuing some business opportunities just across the border in our previous does Sister City Douglas Arizona and their point. Nor what the score was. I thought his privilege It wasn't yet cleared. A karaoke that come at an out was also in the drug trade and would take almost a year for that to become to the entire city of Douglas as well and by then come at an. I had already turned the little town upside down.
Douglas is small about fourteen thousand people lived here back in nineteen. Eighty nine, when come arena first showed up. It doesn't have a whole lot of attractions. The main ones is the garrison hotel, which was first built back in the early nineteen hundreds when the area was more of a magnet for cattlemen, ranchers and mining taken. It has a grand marble lobby and these gorgeous Tiffany I'll stained glass windows. They depict the surroundings and or in desert, with its sorrow, cactus, ok to yo and creosote bushes. Today that desert landscape is heavily sir, a network of towers, equipped with cameras and sensors. What the southern border and all of Douglas pretty much. We four hours a day border patrol truck, with tinted windows, crews, the streets there's so much history here, because it all started with Mister Douglas or your a tape recorder me yeah. That's it
on the north side of town. There's a shop called Douglas diesel. It's a big brick warehouse with peeling stucco filled with truck parts and its own by this guy Gary James. Maybe we're going to start all over the world, first of all on. What's your name and woman, when were you born my name? Gary James, I was born one thirty one, fifty one We grew up and Douglas and his live here, almost all his life. He helped Dixon Service, the semis and trucks that pass through the port of entry, clothes, electronics window blinds and car parts manufactured in Mexico about one or two in forty five thousand personal vehicles and more than two thousand trucks crossed the border every month. So a lot of my business is from from Mexico. In fact, I would say. Probably eighty percent of my business is from south of the border and Gary says that when your customers are people who work in the cross border trucking business, a certain number of them will have ties to smuggling
when you have a foreign country that, but up to the United States and the drug problem that we have in America, We're gonna have these kind of transactions all the time in all kinds of businesses and so many times. I know people coming in my shop may not be legit one hundred percent, but it still a business, I'm legit, so I I sell them the parts, but when Gary first met Raphael come arena out at a local bar, he says he didn't suspect that come arena was involved in any smuggling I remember him being dressed very well, was very professional, never lie like he ever got, excited or upset and never said anything that would make you question who he was. There was this I'll come and Anna was outgoing and social. Anybody
friendly with some of Douglas is most prominent citizens that included chief of police and local justice of the peace who owned a lot of land, come on actually bought a plot of that land near and industrial part of the border, and he about the local business they sat on. The business was called Douglas, Ready MAX. And it's old sand, gravel and concrete for construction projects come at an hour aired, Gary's to health service, his trucks and Joe I was saying, Mr Camara, at least on a weekly basis. These two Gary come arenas. Business appeared to be above board so that Devas, Ready MAX was actually bidding federal contracts, city contracts, state contracts for all kinds materials that are needed in road building, a bridge building, and so it like a very, very legitimate business, now mean he was employing people, so
So we are all happy because at that point in time there wasn't much industry endeavours. Arizona really right down. Town afar, real close to the deviating customs people were station, that's right and other knows pretty much scanner is giving me the Douglas tour in his nineteen seventy three hundred and seventy bug, which has a flapping canvas roof and a bumper sticker on the back that says America. Mexico again with a map, show in the U S, territory that used to be part of our southern neighbour. Ok, this is this warehouse right now the city has been using it to store Some of their buses in their bans that run around regret, run around Douglas in front of us is
beige warehouse surrounded by a chain link fence come at an I constructed this building for his ready mixed business back in the late eighties. He stored his truck some equipment immaterial here. The border fence is about a hundred paces away. Mexico is right there and through the fence, just over the line can see another property that used to become a Dennis. It's a ranch style home in a wealthy neighbourhood of our political commitment, Does the house on a vacant lot which he reportedly bought for ninety thousand dollars? Cash was a little bit over and above market price. Say the least. It raise some eyebrows, this guy was throwing around a lot of money and then who was the enormous whole behind the whole country. And told his neighbours, it was going to be a swimming pool, but ass time went on and realise that was started me fill up with dirt again and
one day I was in the neighborhood told me not. A big hole was but behind now, whilst fulfilled in no Paul had materialised. Even though there was a lot of construction activity at the house with trucks going in and out and hauling dirt, and at this point because Douglas and our prayers are both relatively small town Then everyone knows every one else: rumors were beginning to circulate Mattel debts as key hokey would call them people were saying that come arena wasn't just building a warehouse on the: U S: side and a nice residential home on Mexico side he was building some kind of tunnel between them dirt that slowly under the swimming pool, apparently it been dug out of s that ran Phoenix eventually received a number of tips from informants. They learned they come at Anna was Charles in Douglas and then in Phoenix eventually received a number of tips from informants. They learn.
They come at Anna was using the passageway to smuggle drugs from his home in our creator across the border to his warehouse in Douglas, but before enforcement could go into the warehouse to search for the tunnel. They needed to establish that the smuggling was actually happening, so they staked out common as well, Commentators business was located one block away from the: U S: Customs headquarters. This was later chronicled and an apple of unsolved mysteries. It was very dramatic. Early nineteen. Ninety we initiated a twenty four hour surveillance of the Douglas Ready mix company. I think we got something agent staked out come reigners business for over two months. Yes, they are lying horsemen eventually followed a flatbed truck that they'd seen leaning come on in his warehouse and they trailed it to a property outside of Phoenix where they conducted array
rated a farmer Cameron instructed Vinci vision seized over a ton of nearly pure cocoa. Great value of one hundred million dollars the cocaine been transported inside a hidden compartment beneath the trucks bed. It confirms. The drugs have come from Cameroon as well, in of nineteen. Ninety law enforcement, rated marinas Warehouse and Douglas and his home. In uncle breather, they'd heard there was a tunnel, but they didn't really know exactly what it would be like. The first action was like Ok, a tunnels, it's going be some Nobody hull, like a gopher hall at these guys, were crawling through. This is Terry Kirkpatrick. He worked with me. Less customs service at the time, and he was there, the knight of the raids. First agents entered the warehouse on the: U S: side,
in the middle of the floor was probably about a two foot by two foot great well. That great just happened The shaft laden down into the tunnel once they found that oh entrance and the Douglas warehouse. Some of the agents handed over to our pre ETA, where they were joined. By the mexican federal judicial police. They discuss They come at Anna and his family had already fled. His house was empty. No one was there, but there was no access. The tunnel they couldn't figure it out. We weren't sure how to get into it either. The it's one into what looked like a recreation room with a pool table in it and when they pulled away the carpet they could see. There was something unusual about the floor. It looked as if there was a separate concrete slab underneath the pool table a kind of enormous trap door. The ages started looking around for some kind of button lover that might open it and someone also pulled out a jackhammer,
I just happened to be the one that took the Jack Amherst or Jack Cameron floor on top of where the poor table was, as I'm standing Jack Cameron and all of sudden it moved and started, go up and then stopped everybody kind of froze We said, okay, who touched want we'll just so happy and that one of the police now so I was trying to get a drink of water out of an outside waters, Beckett and when he turned that spigot. That's what was control lever that allow the pool table to go up the valve triggered the poor table to rise up to the ceiling on huge hydraulic lifts like something and mechanics garage reveal in a set of stairs underneath which descended into the tunnel The same one they found an entrance to on the Douglas side of the border. The tunnel located about thirty feet underground once agency, the bottom. There was a passage way
about two hundred and seventy feet. Long four feet wide five feet: high. Has taught us that a person could walk through slightly stooped, pushing a reeled cart full of bundles of cocaine, the tunnel add concrete walls and a curved concrete roof the ventilation system and rudimentary lighting. So this wasn't just to go for this was clear. We hated engineering project, just the complexity. This whole tunnel, with something that had been unseen before unheard of and no one. I think in the United States government special law enforcement. Realising this ever existed or federal agents on patrol along they, Mexico Arizona border said today that they discovered a major group
smuggling route where they have never look of an estimated two million dollars worth of construction, discovered. Last night, concrete steel, reinforcing bars Electric Lara Zone of five feet, high forefeet, why the length of a football field, customs agents, discovery of the tunnel was pretty much the biggest thing that had happened and Douglas everybody was paying attention everybody and we have Congress. People come out to Dublin Arizona and in America's most wanted in unsolved, mysteries and and- and we just had a lot of activity here for at least the first year after the tunnel was discovered. It was constant who just come. I hear the helicopters Blackhawks land I rose it today, John Mccain, yours, I grandson station in their place, reporting and between shifts at the shop Gary observing semis, but was also hired by the federal government to help me
contain and secure the warehouse site, so law enforcement could come and go because some service, Her took a massive investigation and peoples, printing t shirts and bumper stickers, which said I saw the tunnel and selling to all the visiting politicians and journalists and everyone government officials rapporteur. Law enforcement, ordinary citizens of Douglas. They were all asking the same questions. First, who provided the money to build this tunnel was estimated to cost one to two million dollars to create so the project. Clearly Had the financing of a much bigger operation and the other question was. Who had the expertise, someone with engineering knowhow had been involved, some who knew how to build a tunnel undetected that stretched the length of a football field. And ran under the massive border, finance and concrete drainage. Ditch that separated Mixer from the. U S so right away,
you're talking like who invested in this. Who is the king pin of this operation and, of course, his name start coming up. The name was walking out: chapel, goose man and eventually, as the info the progressed someone else but had coming up to an architect the arrival of the architect. After this we often don't think of winter is attainable growth or creation. But if you think about it, it's the perfect time to greet your own website gives recouped job you thinkin about being productive, and now square space can help you do it with squares. Based can take your cool ideas, you ve creative content, your services, goods, and you can turn them into a beautiful website in just a few clicks. Does it because there
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No one is being transported from the federal prison in Manhattan. Where has been held to the courthouse Brooklyn, whereas trial is happening, he's locked in what basically sounds like a coffin Lord is said to be locked inside a security council which is fixed the floor of and armoured vehicle. Inside by a team of officers with automatic weapons and recorded in a commando style convoy capable of repelling attack in an ever. Prevent an assault on the caravan and risk. Another chop o escape authorities are closing the Brooklyn Bridge while delivering him to court that transportation, early in the trial back in November me as prosecutors, began to lay out this hope and scale of the scene. The lower cartels operation jurors were given a video tour of the Douglas Tunnel, one discovered back in nineteen. Ninety, the footage release of the public. Doesn't Cobb sound, but it shows agents walking stooped to the concrete passageway and it shows the concrete slab below the pool table floating
from the floor on its hydraulic lifts, under the leadership of L Chopper the signal A cartel became known for their creative smuggling methods, especially their tunnels. The one in Douglas. Became a kind of prototype for many tunnels afterwards and the poorest. Who oversaw its construction, was a man I am fully bade they corona. Their bearer. The tunnels really started with a guy named Philippe Day. Hey Zeus, Corona Barbara, who, an architect. He graduated from the universe, the Guadalajara in nineteen eighty with an architectural degree, and not much known about his early life beyond that fact, this is Monti real. He was. This South America, correspondent for the Washington Post and he's written about Trans border tunnels for the new Yorker, and he says that, while Rafale come at a not may have been the front man for the tunnel in price did of conspiracy and drug smuggling in his own federal trial in two thousand six and a lot of what we know about him
Karuna, barbaric denies. This will get into that a bit more later, but he was convicted of conspiracy and drug smuggling in his own federal trial. In two thousand and six in a lot of what we know about. Em is based on testimony from natural stories that have been collected from contract workers who helped him with certain construction projects and also from testimony from former cartel members cartel members like Miguel on how Martinez, who worked as a pie and later as a lieutenant frail chopper before turning states witness and entering witness protection back in the nineteen Eightys and Ninetys Martinez, help to manage a topos business for a time he coordinated cocaine, deliveries from Colombia to our pre ETA and when he testified against corona very better. He described him as b the only guy that he ever knew within the similar cartel who addressed chopper with the pronoun too
instead of the more formal and deferential instead, so he was considered a guy who just was very close friends and very familiar with goose man. But not sure if anybody really as the story of how they met we may not know that story, but we do know, generally speaking, how some Orkut ex come to work for drug traffickers, basically like in any business, unity. This is you and guerrilla, a british journalist, based in so city he's cover the drugs aid and the drug war. For almost twenty years. Luck. If you're gonna build a house- and you say you need not you my ask around I need some marketplace if you have somebody coming off an offering very good money, above will, you might normally make it can be an offer that this hard to refuse and because cartels are such exe
offensive and elaborate operations. They need many kinds of sub specialists, they end up hiring, not just architects and engineers, but also accountants, lawyers. I t experts and even musicians who write ballads about the exaggerated exploits of certain Marco's. Many of these people are employed for one off jobs like contract. There's, so you have professional killers who are hired and paid a wage or pay for a hit. You have people who up walk over the desert, backpack full of drugs and paid normally per backpack they take over and you have people who are paid to build tunnels, answer. They paid for the job according to me, go on home Martinez, the former cartel member, the architect, put on a bed. I worked on a number of building projects for a jumbo before embarking on the Douglas Tunnel and his first prize
jack's were just kind of construction jobs within Mexico that warrant related tunnels. He hid bill a couple of residential homes for Greece, man and he had help design a farm with a zoo. Where chop woke up some of his exotic pets. Many designed it grocery store, where the Sinhala Cartel had some offices up in the top floor of it. In all of these people, ex, whether a farmer homer a grocery store had a certain flare. The one thing that all of those projects had in common will, as that they featured hiding places that we're all access by these hydraulic systems. There's a pie faithfulness almost to the sort of systems that corona barbaric designed. He was a creative in kind of disease
lobbying ways. Access these secret passageways that somebody who walked into a house would never really gas in nineteen. The eight krona bit about move from Guadalajara, Mexico to the Douglas. Our priority area, with his wife and three kids. And in the federal trial his defence team maintained that it was to work on legitimate projects. They argued that like lotta people in the area, Corona Berbera inadvertently, got caught up doing business with people who had cartel connections, but that he didn't actually design or build the tunnel They brought in an expert to testify that the tunnel looked more like the work of a structural engineer and not an architect. The trail transcripts get very detailed and charging me with references to things like control, joints and curing compounds, and but structures. But events as corruption in the area was rampant and it was growing. Their misfortune to be in the wrong place at the wrong time
There is some evidence said there were other specialists involved with the tunnel. A senior customs agent told me that one of the informants who tipped him off to the tunnel was a mexican engineer. The engineer claimed he'd been hired by the Sinhala Cartel to research, possible tunnel locations and to create tunnel designs which were then handed off the corona there better that detail as hard to fact check. But it comes from a crow. Well source, even after being convicted in serving more than a decade and federal prison corona. Their merits still denies being involved with the tunnel. His attorney told us that he also denies involvement in any previous trouble Guzman projects. We Cora, barbaric war interview, but through a friend he told us that he is not going to speak at this time. Despite pleading that guilty. He chronic. I bet I was seen as key tunnel locations, including both the warehouse. The? U S side and the resident of whom are now what creates aside a number of
contractors and workers reported interact, with him at those construction sites. They d write, a message somebody with they would talk to all the time who was always around and its funding. Lot of people actually describe him in glow. Terms, for instance, There was a contractor who described seen the plans that corona Barbaric had for the warehouse and he pause in his testimony said they were beautiful plans in a third they kind of risk, after this guy as an architect, he kind of had this air about him. That people looked at him as somebody who knew what he was doing, but there are also a few signs that this, Wasn't an ordinary construction projects, for instance, the drains and the floor of the warehouse, one worker raised questions, but their size and the fact that they didn't appeared to lead to a clear drainage system. This, because they were actually gonna led into the passageway. The connected to the tunnel
one of the workers setting up this. These rains. They don't there's something not right. With them. Where does the water go? He was kind of questioning the design, an crowed, fair bearer. Basically said you know mind your own business, I'm in charge. Here the scene though, a cartel had handpicked the our pre ETA Douglas border as a tunnel site. For a few reasons. For one thing, hotel was already operating there. They had a son those networks and established operation in It already been moving drugs across the border above ground, mostly in vans and trucks with hidden compartments and They were able to move about three tonnes per month across the border that way but this man wanted more efficiency and others why I'll trouble goose man wanted more efficiency. We need to take a little side trip to Miami. Back in the early nineteen eighties, most cocaine was coming into the EU s not from Mexico
from Colombia, The colombian cartels preferred smuggling drugs into the country on boats in small planes through cities in South Florida, like mine, Miami is the source that supplies two thirds of America's drug Heaven and the protracted was hoping to fuel a surge in crime and so the Reagan administration started something called the South Florida taskforce to fight it looks like a war custom. Agents on assignment ready for combat highspeed cobra helicopters from the army would marijuana, leaves painted on the sky. Each leave a successful drug barons Reagan's calls for, task force were very ambitious goal is to break the power of the mob in America and nothing short of it. We mean to end their profits, imprison their members and cripple their organizations. But the reality is the harder we make it for smugglers to get goods across the border. The more money ends up getting pumped into the system.
Which rising our border over many decades has an ended, illegal trafficking. It's just helped professionalized it. The more you crack down on it the harder it gets you and grill again the harder it gets. The price goes up. The more price goes up. The more money is made. The more money is made them all. Criminals want to do it, so the crimson adapt to it and our rich A more powerful organisations and the mexican cartels were about to get a lot richer and more powerful thanks part two Reagan, strategy of increased enforcement and South Florida, because the colombian cartel saw that there were losing their product in drug bus in Miami. They just looked to a different border and new. Criminal collaborators said it had to Mexico, is a creaming made where they would pay the Mexicans to take the cocaine from them. Mexico, or they had a big trafficking work in the United States. Who are the Columbus up to his bring up the Mexico Mexican could take it and then take it,
faith and delivery to them at a price per kilo. Baton, negotiating. So suddenly a lot of the cocaine that had been, travelling around or over Mexico was now travelling through it and then across this learn border into the: U S, which meant a lot of new money pouring into the mexican cartels border agents in Arizona like Terry Kirkpatrick, could see the effects of this on the ground when it hit. It was just like every cars marijuana had coke in it, just like a thousand pounds at a time, four thousand pounds we got overran so fast and, as the EU has continued to crack down on cartels in Colombia and eventually and up new opportunities for mexican cartels to become more than just couriers. That eventually
to dominate the entire cocaine supply chain. So the big cartels are taking out in Colombia. First Pavlovsk a bar and the Collie cartel were taken down, and the mexican cartels grew and grew, particularly the similar ones. I'm telling you. I was only like to dwell for thirty years, Back then, in my classmates, and I we were like onawandah beer What you will like most kids around the world, I wanna be actual traffickers posts they do have to and they can do whatever they want. This is me, go until Vega. He grew up in holy accounts in the lower which, by this time, had been the Apis Centre of Mexico's Heroin and marijuana trade for decades, but with the rise of cocaine, seen a low and drug traffickers we're getting even more powerful and they go watch that happen as he was growing up in some this classmates became immersed in narco culture culture
but was seen as a modern day, Robin Hood helping churned the cinema when economy with drug money and some of those gluts classmates and that are being drug traffickers. And while I can tell you about that, Daddy's some of them are in prison or dead. The blood is here and coolly, a cup, violent nerves instead of joining the north goes. Vega became an investigative journalist focused on organised crime, he's comin. The violence and chaos of the drug war, which has done so much over the years to destabilize the country, corrupt its institutions and turn some of its most vulnerable people. To asylum seekers. Violent things like this body, Stockton, garbage bags, police executed and journalists assassinated are directly connected to the war, of his cartel and they planes that a lot of this violence and chaos was seated back in the late and only because the cocaine trade was being re routed through Mexico, but also because,
the cartels were undergoing an internal reorganization. A whole generation of older Argos was leaving the scene, they were getting arrested, they were dying and a new generation was coming up and they were dividing up the old territory. Forty new alliances and rivalries that generations, who did l, chapel, goose, mom and enormously creative, brutal and ambitious narco he was like eager for power, was just a small, the whole world. Was just conquered the entire world and that's like he's ultimate goal. And chop had some new ideas like this tunnel in Douglas, which, according to some estimates allowed the Sinhala cartel to triple the amount of cocaine they were moving across the border. So do you think what role did this tunnel play in chop? A kind of becoming job, I think, was a barrel here is key.
He Skinner again the journalist and you shop, owner from our pre. At a thing euro launched among those career, the calamity could blue her. First, she got there, cocaine De Los Angeles and they gotta jokingly, nickname him speedy. In addition to helping I'll chapel make his name, the tunnel created a new kind of notoriety for Douglas Arizona which had formerly been a sleepy border town. Suddenly, It was synonymous with the biggest drug trafficking story of the early nineties, and there were a lot of questions about how a smuggling operation of that magnitude could have happened without at least a few local collaborators. The data on one June tenth. He reached the first couple, grass sure The spectre of a man who called himself Francisco Raphael come still stocks the whole of the wealthy and the influential here who entertained in lavish style located in aftermath of the tunnels. Discovery killed. You got to work
wrote, a series of articles for his old newspaper, the Arizona Republic, chronicling Raphael Comedy, as connections to various prominent people, not just in Mexico, but in Douglas he was out of the country club and making the right connections getting to know the right people here before you got this tunnel under way. I mean It seems like there were a lot of implications and these articles about local officials profiting from this whole scheme, but did anybody in local government ever do any? time for their server or anything like that. No No nobody. On the Douglas side, there were also allegations about how agents from the Customs service may have concluded, in the tunnels, game and well,
No one would ever charged. There was a lot of corruption going on within the agency around this time. Here's Terry Kirkpatrick again at that time She was so rampant than the. U S, government started a blue ribbon campaign trying to stamp it out, and we were so busy trying to work six months, and he said that quote. Everyone would have had to know about thousand pounds in the trunk of a car right through the port of entry. It was just law was kind of area, bugging: nineteen, eighty, nine senior then, in the Customs service, told me that the tunnel was probably in operation for at least six months, and he said that quote. Everyone would have had to know about the passageway. For it to be a regular use for that length of time. After the discovery of the tunnel, L chop a goose mind came up with new ways of getting drugs across the border, packed in cans of helping your peppers or inside coils of insulated wire. Both friends,
skull come arena and Philippe couldn't live in bed. I fled to Mexico and it took a lot time to get them back to the United States. Canada was Eventually, extradited and two thousand one and the couple years later he plead guilty for his role in the Douglas smuggling conspiracy. He received a sentence of ten years there is in federal, prison. Corona Barbara was extradited in two thousand three and tried in two thousand six. He was released from federal prison in September twenty eighteen, but that one the end of the tunnels. The Douglas Tunnel was like a prototype, even though it was eventually discovered, it was so efficient and effective. During the day and it was an operation that it paid for itself many times over was a successful experiment. They proved the viability of underground smuggling, and so the tunnels after this one there most became a nightmare and it was one tunnel after another tunnel after another tunnel laptop
Failure to you wanna. They found it so sophisticated being called a super tunnel. The tunnel is over a quarter of a mile long and nearly seventy feet underground part of it besotted limestones, even a phone system, the phones phone still work already say without specific information, where the tunnels are located or just plain luck there virtually impossible to find one clay born ABC News on the EU. Most subtle show up along the Arizona in California borders in places where the ground is soft enough for digging, but not so softly will cave in some of them so pretty rudimentary, but some like the Douglas Tunnel, highly engineered and sophisticated projects with elevators unreal cars, discovered and by Moscow. Late last year, solar panels to power, its ventilation and lighting systems illegal drugs actually come into the country through legal ports of entry. That fact and tunnels are two reasons why trumps proposed border
all probably wouldn't do much to stop drug trafficking, but the? U S, women still sees tunnels as enough of a problem that they ve started tunnel taskforce groups along the border The groups exist solely to monitor, investigate and prevent tunneling, but tunnels are notoriously difficult to detect and they keep showing up. When I was in Douglas, I tried to get into the old tunnel which has been kept open for occasional training sessions by the border patrol Karaoke Skinner work. Tis connections and got us into the warehouse where the entrances, but the tunnel is dank, and I maintain And I was seven months pregnant at the time of the visit a city worker took one look at me: probably imagined. Meat trying into clamber down the rusty ladder in the dark and then let us in after all, but if we can see
architecture of the drug tunnel. Then at least we could see the architecture the drug trade has helped to build across the border. So you see it was pretty nice neighborhood. Once again, driving around in keel keys, rattling little feet. Eu bug were exploring the part of town where our plea it does business people tend to live it's the neighborhood where come at an as ranch home with the hydraulic pool table still sets. Although that's now been converted into a community center and kill key points out a house on the corner. It's a nice place with a rod. Iron Hence the house is made of bread. Clean money. This is cattle money. This guy's been a girdle guy rancher free for years, because guilty has lived here for decades He's picked up a lot of information about how people make their money as we go around the corner of his boys upon the right. Look at the columns on my money
over the limit. The house takes up the entire block, it enormous way. Greco roman columns and a chandelier dangles over its soaring entryway karaoke says local narco. Let's hear it's one of many extra again narco mentions in the area guilty now leads local towards of these places, tourists and snow birds from Arizona and other parts of the southwest down to God. I'm going to show you what bad habits the United States has built for us down here. This money from drug something the United States is the sounds been spent down here in this house in night. Just these houses When we start to think about everything, that's funded, clear indirectly by american drug consumption, make your mind, spend the money find
way to the people who drive track or fly the drugs across Mexico to the Hitler who battle over cartel territory. To the architects and engineers who built the tunnels for smuggling and the mansions for the king pens and to the bribes that pay off cop politicians and border patrol agents, so they will turn their heads and look the other way. As this vast and complex system grinds along where's the money, also trickled down into the rest of the economy, to the growth. These doors in the clothing shops and the gas station. Even The local do shovel that sells than Arcos. Fifteen movies yeah Yeah
ninety nine percent invisible was produced this week by our senior editor Delaney Hall, who finish this story just under the wire. I think that's that, We also think I was like literally in labour when I tracked the staff, so if there is anything that doesn't work very well, let me now I'll. Do it again: ok, bye, you went above and beyond. The congratulations, enjoy your much harder job for the next six months, mix intake production by Sri views if needed. By showing Rio Katy Google is our senior producer to coal. Steady is the digital director recipe, as a very troubled me, Joe Rosenberg emit Fitzgerald Vivian Lean, turn Massa, Sophia, Clad, skirt and me roman Mars, special links this week to Kyoto, Skinner, Andy Becker and the clerk the? U S: District Court in Tucson, Arizona to find out more about your keys tours of Argo preamble, Google, his name
ok, ok, I Skinner we're project of ninety one point: seven K, L W in San Francisco and produced on radio row in beautiful, downtown Oakland California, Ninety nine percent. Invisible is a member of Radio Tokyo from Pierre acts, a fiercely independent collective of the most innovative shows in all of podcasting, find them all and Radio Tokyo that I found. You can find the show in joint discussions about the show, Facebook and tweet me at Roman Mars and show at ninety nine p. Org, run Instagram tumblr and read it to but our borders are wide open. Twenty four seven admin: p. I am dot org.
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Transcript generated on 2020-02-14.