End of the day

Hi everyone! This is Tammy and Morgan.

It’s been a long 24-hours, but the stories heard and the events that we experienced were worth the effort.

Here’s how we would sum up what we learned about the border:

  • There are fewer illegal immigrants coming into the US. But the ones who are crossing are facing dangers like they’ve never seen before
  • There are more drugs coming across the border into Arizona than ever before. We’re not sure if this is because more people are using drugs in the United States (and Arizona) or if it means that the Sinaloa drug cartel, which controls the smuggling routes through Arizona, has just become more powerful
  • The amount of money involved in the drug smuggling business is astronomical. Just look at the millions of dollars Customs and Border Protection agents have confiscated heading south, or the “cartel castles” we videotaped in Mexico, and you’ll get the idea that this is a lucrative business
  • Finally, there are some really good people on both sides of the border who are working very hard to save lives and to change lives. From the Humane Borders volunteers who put water tanks out for immigrants who may otherwise die in the desert, to the teachers and preachers in Mexico who are trying to teach children to say no to the cartel lifestyle, there is a lot of good on the border

We hope you enjoyed our coverage of the issues, and look forward to bringing you more “24 Hours” coverage on others issues that are important to all of us. If you have any ideas on what we should focus on next, please shoot us an e-mail!

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Life and death on the border

Hi everyone! This is Morgan.

This afternoon, we’re reporting on one of the tougher subjects when it comes to the border. It’s the crossroads of enforcing the laws and being humanitarian. Sometimes the two go together. Sometimes they don’t.

We witnessed volunteers who spend their valuable free time making sure there are water stations in the desert for immigrants who may not have had any water for days. These volunteers have a thankless job, and one that often goes contrary to what many regular folks think they should be doing.

We also witnessed the ramifications of running out of water in the desert. An illegal immigrant, who had not had food or water for four days, collapsed in the desert. Our cameras were with US Border Patrol agents as they transformed from law enforcement officers to medics, in a desperate effort to save a life.

It was a lot to swallow, even for a reporter who grew up in this environment, but I think it will help you understand that law breakers sometimes become victims, law officers sometimes become rescuers, and volunteers who you may not agree with, sometimes save lives.

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Into The Sewer!

This is Tammy …

Look out for gunfire … Keep away from the raw sewage … And be careful of the Mexican military – Those were the warnings I got before heading into the Morley Tunnel – A sewage tunnel that stretches from Nogales, Mexico into Nogales, Arizona. I wondered, what had I gotten myself into – again?

This tunnel is a popular smuggling route for human and drug smugglers. But it’s extremely dangerous for the law enforcement that patrol it.

Aside from the smell, the worst part was walking in complete blackness. What a helpless feeling not being able to see what lies ahead. And once we got to the gate dividing Mexico from the U.S. you can’t see more than a few feet beyond.

Unnerving -to say the least!

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Border Photos

Morning … This is Tammy.

We’ve been out here since 10pm last night. Here are a few photos I took… Smugglers dug a tunnel underground from Mexico into Nogales, Arizona. The tunnel ended at the house here with the crime tape. You can see where the tunnel actually came up through the floorboards on the porch. Notice the kids’ bikes and toys. Amazing that smugglers will move their drugs anywhere – even a house where kids live!

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Increase in drug trafficking

After spending the morning with agents from US Customs and Border Protection, one fact is becoming clear: more drugs are coming across the border through Arizona’s ports of entry.

As we reported, the amount of meth, cocaine and bulk cash that agents have seized has doubled in the past year. One theory behind this trend is that the Sinaloa drug cartel, which controls the smuggling corridor that includes Arizona’s border, has become more powerful and is shipping more illegal drugs through the border here.

We’ll get more into the background of the Sinaloa cartel later today…

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Off and Running!

Tammy and I drove down from Phoenix today to begin our 24 hours of coverage of border issues, specifically the effects of drug and human smuggling on the border area. When we arrived in Nogales, we found out the Border Patrol and Immigration and Customs Enforcement had discovered a new drug tunnel that led from Mexico, right under the new billion dollar border fence,  into the front porch of a home located less than 20 feet from the fence.

That’s an example of the ingenuity these drug smuggling organizations are using. Listening to border agents, we find that every time they make an advancement in drug interdiction, the drug gangs figure out a way to get around it.

We snapped some pictures of the scene. I’ll include one here, but Tammy did a much better job of documenting what it looks like and she’ll post some pictures in the morning.

These floor boards conceal a drug tunnel that leads 70 feet into Mexico.

We hope you log in and read our blog over the next 24 hours. We’ll have some insight and observations here that don’t make it into our regular television coverage. For now, I’m going to try to get a couple of hours of shut-eye. The 3am wakeup call for CBS 5 Morning News is going to come mighty early!

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