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Seven Unfilled Border Tunnels Concern National Security Officials

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Seven of the largest drug smuggling tunnels discovered under the U.S. Mexico border have not been completely filled in. Authorities are concerned smugglers could tap into the tunnels and reuse them. K

Seven Unfilled Border Tunnels Concern National Security Officials

(Photo: KPBS reporter Amy Isackson walks through a drug tunnel found last year along the Mexico/USA Border. Sandy Huffaker/Getty Images ).

Seven of the largest drug smuggling tunnels discovered under the U.S. Mexico border have not been completely filled in. Authorities are concerned smugglers could tap into the tunnels and reuse them. KPBS Reporter Amy Isackson has the story.

Federal border officials say the tunnels threaten national security. They say terrorists could use the tunnels to sneak weapons of mass destruction under the border into the United States. Yet, the longest tunnel ever discovered has only been partially plugged with concrete.

The tunnel runs from Tijuana a half mile under the fence and pops up inside a San Diego warehouse. Another tunnel nearby has sat partially filled for 13 years. Customs and Border Protection is responsible for closing the tunnels. Spokesman Mike Friel says they don't have the money.

Friel: Depending on the size of the tunnel, the larger tunnels, anywhere between $200,000 to $700,000 to fill on.

Friel says that means about $3 million to fill the seven tunnels. CBP's 2007 budget is almost $8 billion.

Friel says CBP has filled two tunnels since it took on the responsibility in 2003.

Amy Isackson, KPBS News.