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Unsophisticated’ Border Tunnel Discovered Near Otay Mesa


Aired 4/19/09

U.S. and Mexican law enforcement officials have discovered a small cross-border tunnel just east of the Otay Mesa border crossing. Officials say it was most likely used to smuggle people into the United States. KPBS Reporter Amy Isackson has details.

Immigration and Custom Enforcement officials received a tip that there was a tunnel just east of Otay Mesa's Commercial Border Crossing.

Spokeswoman Lauren Mack says working with Mexican authorities they found the entrance in Mexico.

Mack: It was an unsophisticated, very small, gopher hole type tunnel that appears to have been dug with some shovels and some hand tools that were found in the entry in Mexico.

Mack says the tunnel is about 2 feet wide and extends about 14 feet into the U.S. However, there is no exit.

Mack: The big question that we are trying to determine is whether it had been used to penetrate any of the underground drainage systems in that area.

That's been the case with tunnels found in the area previously. One came up though a manhole near a Drug Enforcement Administration building.

About 70 tunnels have been discovered along the border during the last eight years.

Amy Isackson, KPBS News.

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