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Crews Rescue 5 People Attempting To Cross Border Through Tunnel

Federal agents found five would-be border-crossers in a cramped tunnel near the Otay Mesa Port of Entry today.

The four men and a woman were found in a passageway -- described as a 2 1/2-by-2 1/2-foot conduit built for a natural gas pipeline -- about 2:20 a.m. on the United States side of the border, near the secondary fence south of Via De La Amistad and east of state Route 905, U.S. Border Patrol Agent Michael Jimenez said.

Agents saw a woman and four men go into a hole on the Mexican side of the border, east of the border checkpoint about 11:10 p.m. Tuesday, he said


At the tunnel's exit, agents found a man apparently wedged in the tunnel, asking for help, he said.

Chula Vista firefighters helped to get him and the other four people out of the tunnel, according to Jimenez.

One man told federal agents he paid a smuggler $5,000 to get him into the United States, Jimenez said.

All five were turned over to the Border Patrol, who will check to see if they are wanted for serious crimes in the United States and, if not, return them to Mexico.

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