Jan 30, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Agents uncover longest smuggling tunnel ever found at southern border

The tunnel discovered by the DEA

Photo: Customs and Border Protection

Federal agents have found the "longest illicit cross-border tunnel ever discovered along the Southwest border," Customs and Border Protection announced Wednesday.

Details: The drug-smuggling tunnel stretches for 4,309 feet to connect an industrial site in Tijuana, Mexico, to San Diego, per a CBP statement. "It includes an extensive rail/cart system, forced air ventilation, high voltage electrical cables and panels, an elevator at the tunnel entrance, and a complex drainage system," the statement notes.

  • The passageway is about 70 feet underground and is about 5 feet, 5 inches tall and 2 feet wide.
  • After the tunnel was discovered in late August by CBP and its partners, Mexican law enforcement identified the entrance, and members of the San Diego Tunnel Task Force began mapping it, per the CBP statement.
The sophistication of this tunnel demonstrates the determination and monetary resources of the cartels."
ā€” Statement by DEA's special agent in charge John W. Callery

Why it matters: "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," said Cardell T. Morant, acting special agent in charge of Homeland Security Investigations San Diego, in the statement.

  • The next longest tunnel in the U.S. was discovered in San Diego in 2014. It was 2,966 feet long.
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