20 known smuggling tunnels along the U.S.-Mexico border have not been filled on the Mexican side, and now at least six have been reactivated by opportunistic smugglers who have adjusted tunnel paths.
Known tunnels found on the United States side of the border have been filled since 2007, according to the Los Angeles Times.
Mexican authorities aren’t filling their end of border smuggling tunnels with concrete, using the excuse that they don’t have the money to get the job done according to the Times. Seals over the ends of the Mexico-side of the tunnels are easily circumvented by smugglers who make the minor adjustment of digging a new entry nearby.
Electrical wiring and support beams in sophisticated tunnels make using portions of existing tunnels an attractive option. The failure to fill the tunnels on the Mexico side has saved smugglers time and money that is not spent digging large portions of new tunnels and installing new electrical wiring and beams, the Times notes..
“The biggest threat is that it’s a huge open invitation for drug traffickers, and it’s definitely going to be taken advantage of,” said former special agent in charge Michael Unzueta of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement in San Diego according to the Times report.
In December, two cartel tunnels were found connecting Tijuana, Mexico to San Diego, California. Breitbart News reported that one was already in use, and one was nearly complete. Raids were conducted when Mexico’s Attorney General’s Office was tipped off to the reactivation of an old smuggling tunnel.
National Border Patrol Council vice president Shawn Moran was cited by the Times as saying, “We don’t want to leave infrastructure in place in the form of half-completed tunnels for [cartels] to use.” The union group has advised President-elect Donald J. Trump on border security issues.
Since 1990, authorities have discovered more than 200 border tunnels. The tunnels have been used to smuggle tons of drugs into the United States.
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