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Gov. Ducey Visits Site of Drug Tunnel in San Luis

Victor Calderón
Gov. Doug Ducey addresses reporters in front of a former fast food restaurant in San Luis Arizona on Friday, Aug. 24, 2018. A drug tunnel in the kitchen area of the building stretches more than 500 feet underground into a residence in San Luis, Mexico.

Gov. Doug Ducey on Friday toured the site of a drug tunnel found inside an empty fast food restaurant in San Luis, Arizona. Ducey met with local law enforcement officers and elected officials and toured the area leading into the tunnel, which Yuma Border Patrol says is the fifth tunnel found in the Yuma sector since 2007.

The tunnel was discovered after the Aug. 13 arrest of Ivan Lopez, who was found in possession of more than 300 pounds of drugs, including methamphetamine, cocaine, heroin and 3 million doses of fentanyl. An 8-inch hole in the kitchen area of the restaurant, which was once a Kentucky Fried Chicken, dropped down about 20 feet to the tunnel, officials said. It stretches more than 500 feet under the U.S.-Mexico border and led to a residence in San Luis Rio Colorado.

Police said the investigation is ongoing and that no further arrests had been made as of midday Friday. Ducey praised the work of all levels of law enforcement involved in the discovery of this latest tunnel.

"This is an example of what the Border Patrol and ICE go through every day," Ducey told reporters in San Luis. "We were able to... keep these drugs out of American schools and off the streets. It is the reality of the border here in Arizona."

Recent reports have said the once secure Yuma Sector may not be as safe as it was. Law enforcement officers and San Luis Mayor Gerardo Sanchez say San Luis is still safe. Friday was Ducey's fifth visit to San Luis, Sanchez said.

"We're still considered one of the safer points," Sanchez told KAWC. "This is an example that we're vigilant."

"We continue working for the safety of our community," he said.

Victor is originally from West Sacramento, California and has lived in Arizona for more than five years. He began his print journalism career in 2004 following his graduation from Georgetown University in Washington D.C. Victor has been a reporter for the following daily newspapers: The Monterey County Herald, The Salinas Californian and the Reno Gazette-Journal, where he covered stories including agriculture, education and Latino community news. Victor has also served as a local editor for Patch, a national news organization with hyperlocal websites, in Carmichael, California in the Sacramento area. He also served as the editor for The New Vision, the newspaper for the Roman Catholic Diocese of Tucson, which includes Yuma and La Paz counties. Victor lives in Somerton. He enjoys spending time with his family and friends and following most sports.
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