Sonora, Mexico, man sentenced for narcotics smuggling after tunnel is discovered under Arizona house

TUCSON, Ariz. — A Nogales, Sonora, Mexico, man was sentenced on Thursday to 41 months in prison, followed by five year’s supervised release for smuggling narcotics stemming from an illegal tunnel found under an Arizona residence he rented. Special agents with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) conducted the investigation.

Jovany Alonso Robledo-Delgado, 35, of Mexico, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Scott H. Rash. Robledo-Delgado previously pleaded guilty to conspiracy to import methamphetamine, cocaine, fentanyl, and heroin.

On Dec. 17, 2019, special agents executed a search warrant at the house Robledo-Delgado was renting in Nogales, Arizona. In the house, HSI special agents discovered a subterranean tunnel down to the International Outfall Interceptor (IOI). The IOI is 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. Inside Robledo-Delgado’s residence, agents also found large amounts of methamphetamine, cocaine, fentanyl, and heroin. Robledo-Delgado was discovered hiding under a bed in the house.

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Robledo-Delgado told agents that he constructed 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 smuggling attempt.


Assistant U.S. Attorney Craig Russell, District of Arizona, Tucson, handled the prosecution.

HSI is a directorate of ICE and the principal investigative arm of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), responsible for investigating transnational crime and threats, specifically those criminal organizations that exploit the global infrastructure through which international trade, travel and finance move. HSI’s workforce of over 10,400 employees consists of more than 7,100 special agents assigned to 220 cities throughout the United States, and 80 overseas locations in 53 countries. HSI’s international presence represents DHS’s largest investigative law enforcement presence abroad and one of the largest international footprints in U.S. law enforcement.

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