This weekend, the U.S. Border Patrol in San Diego arrested 30 illegal immigrants near the Mexican border. The arrest led to a disturbing discovery that could spell real trouble for the planned border wall.
It should be noted that San Diego is one of America’s busiest entry points into Mexico. It is also popular with human traffickers, but they have some obstructions. There are already significant walls and patrols in the area, but the arrest of this latest group of illegals revealed that may not be enough.
The group was apprehended near the border checkpoint. Of the 30 people arrested, only seven were Mexican; the other 23 were Chinese nationals. This led border patrol agents to think they were brought in by professional smugglers. They began to search the immediate area and made a disturbing discovery – a crude but significant border tunnel that made entry into the United States easy, as it went under the current border wall.
Tunnels are a real problem for border security, so much so that the Border Patrol has their own task force working on the problem. The fact that this tunnel had apparently been used for some time undetected could spell real trouble for the effectiveness of a border wall.
A picture of the tunnel is included below.
“At around 1:12 a.m., Border Patrol agents encountered several people who had apparently just been smuggled into the U.S.,” CBP said in a statement. “Agents searched the area and discovered a crude opening in the ground with a ladder inside and determined that is was a smuggling tunnel. The tunnel’s exit is located just north of the secondary fence in the vicinity of the Otay Mesa port of entry.”
The 30 individuals are currently in Border Patrol custody and are being questioned.
CBP said members of the San Diego Tunnel Task Force are coordinating closely with their law enforcement counterparts in Mexico on the investigation.
“Preliminarily it appears this latest tunnel may be an extension of an incomplete tunnel previously discovered and seized by Mexican authorities,” CBP said.
The use of such tunnels is not new, but they have typically been used for drug smuggling.
“While subterranean tunnels are not a new occurrence along the California-Mexico border, they are more commonly utilized by transnational criminal organizations to smuggle narcotics,” the CBP said. “However, as this case demonstrates, law enforcement has also identified instances where such tunnels were used to facilitate human smuggling.”
Here is a tweet from Border Patrol of the tunnel opening.
— CBP San Diego (@CBPSanDiego) August 27, 2017
No word yet on what Border Patrol will do to further combat the tunnel issue.