Mid Arizona Border, Part 2
The border barrier in Nogales was built from
surplus steel landing mat. Congressman Duncan Hunter -- then Chairman
of the House Armed Services Committee -- became tired of the constant
attacks on U.S. citizens along the border and the numbers of drug
smugglers flooding border roadways. The violence was unstoppable.
Surplus steel landing mat was collected from military bases around
the country and rushed to the border. This steel landing mat makes
up much of the Primary barrier from San Diego to Brownsville,
While of tremendous value in its original application
-- laying airplane runways over soft earth quickly and safely
during wartime -- the ever-mounting costs in civilian lives from
border violence outweighed the value of this military asset.
In Nogales, the landing mat is reinforced from
behind with steel pillars. These pillars are to stop drug laden
trucks from crashing the barrier -- which they otherwise would
do (and did).
In the photo above you can see the Primary barrier
crawling over the eastern hills of Nogales. At the top left of
the photo you can see a Remote Video System (RVS) camera tower
monitoring the border.
While these simple barriers seem to be "simple
barriers" in fact many have very sensitive fiber
optic sensors built into their tops to detect climbers. Such
fiber optic sensors can detect fence climbers at 25 miles and
isolate the location of the climber to 75 feet.
Beneath these two cities named Nogales, is a
large storm drain system that continues to be used as a major
transit system for illegal smuggling operations of all kinds.
The storm drain is sealed on the U.S. side with massive steel
gates and is monitored with live video feeds. Smugglers still
It is reported that Nogales has so many smuggling
tunnels beneath it that it is amazing the town hasn't collapsed.
Much of the legal commerce of the town is from
Mexico to the Nogales, USA Walmart.
As we leave Nogales on highway 19, the U.S. Border
Patrol has installed several checkpoints. All traffic leaves the
multilane highway at an off ramp and is closely examined by Federal