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Going underground: More sophisticated tunnels built under U.S.-Mexico border

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Law enforcement officials in San Diego recently discovered a “super tunnel” used to smuggle drugs from Tijuana, Mexico to an industrial park in San Diego. Considered the most sophisticated tunnel discovered to date, the tunnel is only one of 140 drug trafficking tunnels discovered since 1990. The 600-yard tunnel was equipped with lighting, ventilation, and an electric rail system. Experts say that smugglers turn to tunnels because above-ground border security has been bolstered.

Law enforcement officials in San Diego recently discovered a “super tunnel” used to smuggle drugs from Tijuana, Mexico to an industrial park in San Diego. Considered the most sophisticated tunnel discovered to date, the tunnel is only one of 140 drug trafficking tunnels discovered since 1990. The 600-yard tunnel was equipped with lighting, ventilation, and an electric rail system.

Fox News reports that federal agents discovered more than $10 million in marijuana and cocaine after finding the tunnel by monitoring a suspicious truck. In a press statement, John Sandweg, acting director for Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) said, “once again, we’ve succeeded in taking down a smuggling tunnel before it was fully operational. This action is another huge setback for the Mexican cartels, which invest vast amounts of time and money to build them. These criminal organizations should not mistakenly believe tunnels will be their ticket to success.”

“Tunnels are definitely the new paradigm for smuggling organizations who have to adjust to the constriction caused by border security strategies and the residual circumstances of a chaotic border,” Victor Manjarrez, associate director of the National Center for Border Security & Immigration at the University of Texas-El Paso, told Fox News.

Manjarrez says that smugglers turn to tunnels because above-ground border security has been bolstered. “It is clear to me that the increased tunnel activity is a direct result of increased and improved border security efforts along the southwest border,” Manjarrez said. “These tunnels absolutely add to the complexity of border security. The majority of Border Patrol sectors don’t have adequate mapping of existing and new tunnel systems.”

Tristen Reed, Mexico security analyst for STRATFOR, a private intelligence and analysis firm, notes that sophisticated tunnels are a reminder that human and drug traffickers are not limited to the border for transportation. “What’s particularly concerning is that above ground, smugglers can only transport what can be concealed among legitimate goods or carried across expansive terrain,” Reed told Fox News. “With rail systems and ventilation in tunnels directly entering populated areas, smugglers can transport anything they want with less focus on concealment.”

Tunnels have been used in smuggling since the days of prohibition, but the sophistication of recently discovered tunnels are alarming. “We have seen increased sophistication in construction of the tunnels in recent years — tunnels which are built with rail systems and ventilation,” Reed said. “The improved designs certainly cost more money to construct, so that trend is a sign that smugglers see underground routes as a good investment with little risk.”

 

 

 

http://www.homelandsecuritynewswire.com/dr20131107-going-underground-more-sophisticated-tunnels-built-under-u-s-mexico-border

 

 

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Spreading the word about the dangers of methamphetamine.

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