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, Texas.
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 get through.
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 USBP has installed several checkpoints. All traffic leaves the multilane highway at an off ramp and is closely examined by Federal Officers.
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