Wednesday, March 9, 2011
Mexican authorities have unearthed a suspected smuggling tunnel that runs beneath the border between Mexicali and Calexico. It is about two miles east of the Calexico East port of entry.
U.S. Immigration and Customs spokeswoman Lauren Mack said the tunnel is rudimentary and looks to be hand-dug. Mack said the Calexico tunnel discovered late Tuesday surfaces about 10 feet into the U.S. She said it may have tapped into drain pipes in the area. The entrance on the Mexican side was found near a reservoir.
Mexican military commander for the northern region, Gilberto Landeros Briseño, said the tunnel has a diameter of about 4 feet and suspects it was primarily used for the smuggling of drugs and people into the U.S. Landeros said about 14 kilos of marijuana were seized by his agents upon discovering the tunnel.
Landeros said those who constructed the tunnel intended to use the drain pipes as a disguise. The passageways were equipped with lighting, ventilation and rail systems to move tons of drugs. There is no word on how long the tunnel has been in operation.
The design of the Calexico tunnel sharply contrasts with that of two sophisticated drug-smuggling tunnels discovered last year that connected warehouses in Tijuana and Otay Mesa.
In the last decade, authorities have found more than 120 cross-border smuggling tunnels along the southwest border. Most of them are crude passageways.