SAN DIEGO (AP) — U.S. authorities announced on Monday the discovery of an underground contraband tunnel at the Mexican border, stretching the length of a football field on U.S. soil to a warehouse in an area industrial.
The cross-border tunnel from Tijuana to the San Diego area was built in one of the most heavily fortified stretches of the border, illustrating the boundaries of former President Donald Trump’s border wall. While considered effective against small, crudely constructed tunnels called “gopher holes”, the walls are no match for more sophisticated passages that go deeper underground.
Authorities have found about 15 sophisticated tunnels on California’s border with Mexico since 2006, with features including lighting, ventilation, train tracks and hydraulic elevators.
Many of the tunnels, including the one announced Monday, are in San Diego’s Otay Mesa industrial area, where clay soil is suitable for digging and warehouses provide cover.
Cross-border crossings date back to the early 1990s and were primarily used for smuggling multi-ton shipments of marijuana. The United States Drug Enforcement Administration said in 2020 that they are usually located in California and Arizona and are associated with the Mexican Sinaloa cartel.
Federal law requires US authorities to fill the US side of the tunnels with concrete after they are discovered.