Mexican law enforcement officials discovered two tunnels, one of them fully-functional, which ran from Tijuana to California. The tunnels, believed to be dug and used by the Sinaloa cartel, were replete with rails, ventilation, and lighting. Authorities believe at least one of the tunnels was actively used to ferry drugs into the United States.
In an official statement issued earlier this week, the Mexican federal attorney general’s office confirmed the tunnels were discovered in an area of warehouses across from Otay Mesa. Interestingly, the tunnels weren’t far from each other. According to the statement, the tunnels were barely 400 meters away from each other, reported CBS News. While the tunnel opened up in an area of warehouses, they originated from an area immediately north of the border which is also a warehouse district.
The statement added that one of the tunnels led to San Diego and had been in operation. The tunnel was outfitted with all the amenities to facilitate quick transportation of narcotics across the border without detection. Video footage recorded during the raids, showed a passageway with rails, ventilation, and lighting. The long tunnel was structurally well-supported by strong wooden pylons and stabilized with beams.
While one of the tunnels appeared to be in active operation, the state of the other tunnel indicated it was yet to be finished. Only the opening or entrance of the unfinished tunnel was discovered. The tunnel that was being actively used opened up in San Diego. It is quite likely that the tunnels were being used by known drug cartels operating in the state of Sinaloa, mentioned the statement,
“Presumably, one of these tunnels was being used by a criminal organization operating in the state of Sinaloa for the smuggling of drugs into the United States.”
The silent searches and raids, which did not result in any arrests so far, were conducted jointly by the attorney general’s office with Mexico’s national defense secretariat and federal police. The raids are believed to have been conducted after unconfirmed reports surfaced about the discovery of two tunnels being built in the area. Interestingly, the official statement mentioned the U.S. consulate as the source of “reliable information that the cross-border tunnel was being reactivated,” reported the Los Angeles Times.
The U.S. consulate in Tijuana had determined that several tunnels were quietly being reactivated. Several of these tunnels were either abandoned or fell into disuse following the enhanced border control activities conducted by U.S. officials securing the borders. However, the lure of drug money is simply too strong to ignore. Towns near the U.S.-Mexico border actively participate in the cultivation and processing of natural and synthetic drugs respectively.
In the last five years alone, more than 75 cross-border smuggling tunnels have been discovered and sealed off by U.S. authorities. The majority of these tunnels were discovered in California and Arizona. Despite a severe crackdown, new tunnels are routinely dug from obscure locations on the Mexican side. Upon discovery, these tunnels are either sealed off, buried, or their entrances and passageways are blown using controlled detonation.
The latest discovery comes less than two months after authorities on both sides of the border confirmed the presence of a tunnel that had an entrance west of the Otay Mesa Port of Entry. The other end of the tunnel was inside an ice-making business near the Tijuana airport.
With President-elect Donald Trump inclined towards building a wall to keep illegal immigration and drug trade in check, experts are cautioning that it takes more than a wall to secure the border, reported The Hill. Mexican drug cartels have perfected the art of building sophisticated tunnels within the shortest span of time and with amazing alacrity. If needed these tunnels could be used to ferry people across the border, note experts.
[Featured Image by David McNew/Getty Images]