Jan 30, 2020

Agents uncover longest smuggling tunnel ever found at southern border

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."
— 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.

Go deeper

Family of Mexican teen killed by border agent cannot sue, SCOTUS rules

Photo: Daniel Slim/AFP via Getty Images

On Tuesday, the Supreme Court ruled 5-4, along ideological lines, that the family of a Mexican teenager who was killed across the southern border by a U.S. border agent cannot sue for damages.

Why it matters: The court’s decision avoids inviting more lawsuits from foreign nationals against U.S. law enforcement. The court noted in its opinion that “a cross-border shooting claim has foreign relations and national security implications.”

U.S. evacuee with coronavirus initially discharged from hospital

Personnel in biological hazard suits welcome passengers evacuated from Wuhan, China, at March Air Reserve Base in Riverside County, California. Photo: Matt Hartman/AFP via Getty Images

An evacuee from Wuhan, China, who became the 13th person in the U.S. to be infected with the novel coronavirus, was initially mistakenly released from a California hospital, UC San Diego Health said in a statement Monday.

Details: Officials from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention told San Diego Public Health "four patients being evaluated for 2019-nCoV at UC San Diego Health had tested negative for the virus," according to the statement. They were discharged and returned to federal quarantine at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar "at the CDC's direction," it said.

Go deeperArrowFeb 11, 2020 - Health

Border officers to team up with ICE in sanctuary city crackdown

An anti-ICE protest inside the main hall at Grand Central Station. Photo: Erik McGregor/LightRocket via Getty Images

Specially trained border officials are being deployed to a handful of sanctuary cities to help carry out an immigrant arrest operation to begin this weekend alongside Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents, the New York Times reports.

Why it matters: The administration has made several efforts over the past few weeks to crack down on states and cities that choose not to cooperate with federal immigration enforcement agencies.