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NOGALES, AZ (CBS5) -
A just-completed, cross-border drug smuggling tunnel was shut down Wednesday and more than 1,200 pounds of marijuana seized after a multi-agency investigation by the Nogales Tunnel Task Force.
Tunnel Task Force officers were conducting surveillance in the area around noon and saw suspicious activity around a van in a parking lot, about 200 yards east of the Morley Pedestrian Gate.
Investigators approached the van, which was loaded with marijuana bundles. Two men near the vehicle attempted to flee on foot, but were apprehended by Task Force officers not far from the tunnel and taken into custody.
Task Force officers discovered 22 bundles of marijuana in the van and 29 bundles of marijuana inside the tunnel, weighing a total of 1,210 pounds.
Officers described the tunnel as crude and hand-dug. It is about 68 feet long and averages about two feet wide. The passageway does not contain any wooden shoring, ventilation or electrical equipment.
The tunnel location closely parallels a March 2012 drug tunnel found in the same location.
The tunnel entrance is located in the front yard of a home in Nogales, Mexico, and runs for about 26 feet underground before passing under the international boundary and running another 42 feet on the U.S. side of the border.
Mexican authorities responded to the area and secured the tunnel entrance in Mexico. The tunnel will be guarded by Border Patrol agents until it is rendered unusable.
Investigators said they believe the tunnel had just been completed earlier Wednesday.
In the last three years, federal authorities have discovered and shut down 26 completed cross-border smuggling tunnels in the Nogales area.
The Tunnel Task Force is led by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's Homeland Security Investigations.
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