SAN DIEGO ( Associated Press) — U.S. authorities announced Monday the discovery of a smuggling tunnel on the border with Mexico that is the length of a football field on the U.S. side and leads to a warehouse in an industrial zone.
The construction of the tunnel that goes from Tijuana to the San Diego metropolitan area was carried out on one of the most heavily armored stretches of the border, illustrating the limitations of former President Donald Trump’s border wall.
Though considered effective against small, crudely constructed tunnels called “mole holes,” walls are not effective against more sophisticated passages that run deeper.
Authorities have found some 15 sophisticated tunnels on California’s border with Mexico since 2006, complete with lighting, ventilation, rail tracks and hydraulic lifts.
Most of the tunnels, including the one announced Monday, are in San Diego’s Otay Mesa industrial zone, where clay-type soil makes digging easy and where warehouses provide cover.
Cross-border tunnels date back to the early 1990s and have been used primarily to smuggle tons of marijuana.
The DEA said in 2020 that the tunnels are often found in California and Arizona, and that they are associated with the Mexican Sinaloa cartel.
Under federal law, US authorities must cover the US side of the tunnels with concrete once they are discovered.