When it comes to cross-border smuggling, authorities have discovered the “longest illicit cross-border tunnel” at the U.S. Southwest border.
U.S. Border Patrol San Diego Sector and other authorities exposed the record-long tunnel which extends from Tijuana, Baja California, Mexico, to San Diego, California, they announced on Wednesday.
“I am thrilled that this high level narco-tunnel has been discovered and will be rendered unusable for cross-border smuggling,” Deputy Chief Patrol Agent Aaron M. Heitke said, adding, “I am proud of the tremendous efforts of the Tunnel Task Force and our agents.”
The tunnel was discovered in August of 2019, which sparked authorities to start mapping out the tunnel. The tunnel extends 4,309 feet total — over three-quarters of a mile, according to a U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) statement.
According to the CBP, the tunnel is “approximately five and a half feet tall and two feet wide, has an average depth of 70 ft. from the surface.” Additionally, the tunnel has a rail system, an elevator at the entrance, “high voltage electrical cables and panels,” as well as other structural details.
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“While subterranean tunnels are not a new occurrence along the California-Mexico border, the sophistication and length of this particular tunnel demonstrates the time-consuming efforts transnational criminal organizations will undertake to facilitate cross-border smuggling,” Acting Special Agent in Charge of Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) San Diego Cardell Morant said.
Morant added, “This discovery underscores the importance of the partnerships HSI has with the U.S. Attorney’s Office (USAO), United States Border Patrol (USBP), Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and other regional agencies, as collaborative investigations and community outreach are key to combating this type of threat.”
DEA Special Agent in Charge John Callery noted that “the sophistication of this tunnel demonstrates the determination and monetary resources of the cartels.”
However, Callery said, “although the cartels will continue to use their resources to try and breach our border, the DEA and our partners on the Tunnel Task Force will continue to use our resources to ensure they fail, that our border is secure, and that tunnels like this are shut down to stem the flow of deadly drugs entering the United States.”
“The investigation continues, and I am confident that our hard work and dedication to uphold the law will lead to future arrests and seizures,” Deputy Chief Heitke said.
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