LAREDO, Texas-Human smugglers and drug traffickers have been using drainage pipes as makeshift tunnels that lead from the banks of the Rio Grande River into the streets of Laredo, Texas. The traffickers often evade arrest or capture by simply hiding in the tunnels. Border Patrol agents claim that their agency forbids them from following traffickers or illegal aliens into the subterranean criminal safe havens.
Breitbart Texas reporters observed a soiled brown jacket, likely left behind by an immigrant or smuggler, sitting just yards from the entrance to one of these water drainage pipes. Border Patrol agents have identified these pipes as areas of unimpeded access for smugglers entering the city. Located just south of Laredo is Nuevo Laredo, a Mexican city overrun by the Zetas. The Zetas are a powerful drug cartel which law enforcement considers one of the most violent criminal organizations in Mexico.
According to Border Patrol agents who spoke with Breitbart Texas, as smugglers enter the country in this area they often travel through the open pipes, using them to cross several yards while evading capture. The smugglers come out at an area just south of a low-income residential area known as the Azteca neighborhood. Border Patrol recognizes the area as a hotbed for drug trafficking. On nights when fewer Border Patrol are on shift, around 30 traffickers may come through a given tunnel.
The City of Laredo has not covered or replaced one of the missing manhole covers, resulting in a continued safe haven for smugglers. Federal authorities claim the smugglers will wait inside the drainage pipes for hours at a time, waiting for the coast to be clear of law enforcement. Smugglers will then come out of the sewer, right into the city streets where they blend in with the community.
Border Patrol agents told Breitbart Texas that they have requested the assistance of their management and of city officials to help alleviate the situation or allow them go into the pipes; however, the only ones allowed into the area are members of the local fire department who do not respond unless first aid or rescue is immediately needed, according to the agents.
Breitbart Texas has contacted the City of Laredo and is awaiting a response as to the numbers of calls for service made by law enforcement to the area.
The screeching sound of bats and the stench of rotting foliage mixed with stagnant water welcomed a Breitbart Texas team that went in to the manhole cover to investigate. While authorities had removed part of the step ladder used to climb down the manhole, a piece of rope still hung to one of the handles which was likely used to climb up into the city. Breitbart Texas Managing Director Brandon Darby climbed down the manhole cover to get a better look inside the tunnel that human smugglers evading authorities force their victims through.
“This tunnel is a corridor for narco smugglers” Darby said. He can be seen below explaining the circumstances surrounding the matter.