Border Live exclusive: Lilia Luciano enters rat and scorpion-filled tunnel between Mexico and the US

Border Live returns tonight on Discovery — and Monsters and Critics has an exclusive preview of a special pre-recorded segment for the live show.

In it, the footage features investigative reporter Lilia Luciano being given a heads up about a problematic border crossing area between Mexico and the USA, and she is filmed climbing through one of the tunnels that connect between the two sovereign nations’ borders.

It’s fraught with not only claustrophobic surroundings and the real danger of a potential cave in, but she is warned that actual vermin like rats and even deadly scorpions, native to the arid border of Nogales and Mexico where Lilia is investigating, are often common tunnel occupants.

Read our interview with Lilia Luciano here!

In the groundbreaking series, camera crews are embedded out in the field with real officers and special agents tasked to patrol at key border sites from Nogales, Ariz., where the show will be tonight, to the west to the Rio Grande Valley and other points east.

Lilia Luciano learns that rats and scorpions are inside the claustrophobic tunnel too. Pic credit: Discovery
Lilia Luciano learns that rats and scorpions can be found inside the claustrophobic tunnel. Pic credit: Discovery

Lilia introduces us to her assignment tonight, as she points out the geographic lay of the land and says: “This area here that’s really close to the fence that divides Nogales Sonora in Mexico with Nogales Arizona… and the US side is very much prone to illicit tunnels.

“We’re here to meet with deputy patrol agent in charge Kevin Hecht, who is one of the world’s leading experts in illicit tunnels, to understand why this place is so attractive.”

Deputy patrol agent in charge Kevin Hecht explains to Lilia the logistics of how easy it is to tunnel in that area. Pic credit: Discovery
Deputy patrol agent in charge Kevin Hecht explains to Lilia the logistics of how easy it is to tunnel in that area. Pic credit: Discovery

Hecht explains how easy it is to get from Mexico to the US underground.

He says: “You can see Mexican infrastructures, you know, 60 feet from the fence as it is on the US side…so it’s very limited distance. That building is so close and this building is so close on the US side it’s a very short tunnel to have to dig.”

He adds: “The other part is the drainage system — there’s a lot of underground infrastructures to collect that rain to keep both sides of the border from flooding. So with that existing infrastructure, you can use that.”

Hecht takes Lilia inside the tunnel, where she appears a bit nervous. Lilia asks: “What kind of dangers do agents face other than obviously… you know… encountering someone who might be armed?”

He says: “Well there could be rodents, scorpions, spiders…”

She looks a bit shocked and says: “Here?” He confirms what she heard him say. Luciano really earned her stripes this week.

Border Live employs experts to provide context and insight during the live broadcast. Discovery is also filming the show tonight down in Texas including with the City of San Juan Police Department and Cameron County Sheriff’s Office as well as in Arizona with the Cochise County Sheriff’s Office.

They will also interview Lenny DePaul, a retired Chief Inspector with the U.S. Marshal Service, and Dr. Victor M. Manjarrez, Jr., a retired Chief Patrol Agent who served in both Tucson and El Paso Sectors during the production of this series.

Tune in tonight to see how far Lilia travels in the tunnel!

Discovery’s Border Live airs Wednesday from 9-11pm ET/PT.

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