A 35-year-old Arizona man will spend the next 41 months in prison after federal agents discovered he’d been funneling shipments of illicit drugs from Mexico into the United States using a tunnel he’d built under his rental house.
Jovany Alonso Robledo-Delgado, of Nogales, Sonora, Mexico, was sentenced June 24 after pleading guilty to conspiracy to import methamphetamine, cocaine, fentanyl, and heroin.
After his sentence has been served, Robledo-Delgado will receive five years of supervised release.
On Dec. 17, 2019, federal agents executed a search warrant at the house Robledo-Delgado was renting in Nogales, Arizona, a community of about 21,000 that straddles the United States-Mexican border.
During a house search agents discovered a “subterranean tunnel down to the International Outfall Interceptor (IOI), a wastewater pipeline that begins at the Mexican border and flows north to a plant that treats wastewater from Nogales, Sonora, and cities in Arizona pursuant to an agreement between the United States and Mexico,” according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office, District of Arizona, in a news release.
Inside Robledo-Delgado’s house, agents also found large amounts of methamphetamine, cocaine, fentanyl, and heroin.
Agents found Robledo-Delgado hiding under a bed before he was arrested on the drug charge.
Robledo-Delgado told agents that he built the tunnel so he could “breach the IOI and retrieve packages of drugs that floated through the IOI from Mexico into the United States. He was being paid $3,000 for each shipment.
In March, federal agents on the San Diego Tunnel Task Force discovered a sophisticated drug smuggling tunnel, which extends more than 2,200 feet underground from a warehouse in Tijuana, Mexico to a warehouse in a commercial complex in the Otay Mesa area of San Diego. Agents seized 4,400 pounds of illegal drugs, including 1,300 pounds of cocaine, 17 pounds of heroin, 3,000 pounds of marijuana, and more than two pounds of fentanyl from the tunnel, the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) said in a press release.
The total street value of the illicit drugs is estimated at $29.6 million.
“Tunnels like this bring large quantities of dangerous drugs and violence into our communities. Law enforcement often relies on the public’s assistance in identifying the location of these tunnels,” the ICE statement said.