People from various parts of the globe will try anything to reach a destination they think will change the course of their lives for the better. The lure of the United States as the land of “milk and honey” still applies today. Walls may have been erected along the border of the United States and Mexico, but that will not deter the most determined. Now, a hidden tunnel has been found at the US-Mexico border in San Diego.
With the recent apprehension and detention of 30 people coming from Mexico, it became known that walls couldn’t prevent people from crossing the border illegally. The secret hidden tunnel starts at the Calle Mar Barmejo, Tijuana near the Garita de Otay to the Otay Mesa Port of Entry in San Diego County.
It’s ironic that the hidden tunnel was quite close to the border crossing bridge just off Otay Pacific Drive and Britannia Boulevard.
A Mix of Nationalities
The 30 persons who were apprehended by border patrol agents on Saturday, August 26 came from Mexico. However, according to CBP agent Eduardo Olmos, the group was composed of four men and three women who are Mexican nationals, and two women and 21 men who are Chinese nationals. They are now being questioned by the CBP.
Discovery of Hidden Tunnel
According to the CBP, they spotted the group a few minutes past one in the morning on Saturday near the Otay Mesa Port of Entry. The suspects tried to flee by running back to the tunnel after they realized that agents have seen them. Some were caught at the tunnel’s surface at Siempre Viva Road and Drucker Lane. Others made it inside the hidden tunnel but were later detained by the agents.
CBP said in their official statement that they encountered the large group of people whom they thought were newly smuggled into the U.S. When they pursued the group they searched the area and saw the opening in the ground. They found a ladder inside. The agents investigated the hidden tunnel but no drugs were found.
Secret tunnels spanning the border between Mexico and the U.S. are not new. As of the first quarter of 2016, U.S. authorities have discovered 12 completed tunnels between California and Mexico.
These tunnels are used specifically for drug smuggling. The hidden tunnel that was discovered in March 2016 was 400 yards long, which is equivalent to four football fields. It started at a restaurant located in Mexicali in Mexico and ended underneath a newly-built house in Calexico, which is in California.
The CBP believes that the new hidden tunnel is being used to smuggle people into the United States. The tunnel’s exit is only a few steps north of the secondary fence near the Otay Mesa port of entry.
Mexican authorities are doing their own investigation to determine who are behind the building of the tunnel and running the human smuggling operation.
Aside from the agents of the CBP who will remain in the area to provide assistance, more authorities are investigating, including the San Diego Tunnel Task Force in cooperation with the Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).
Virginia Kice, an ICE representative released a statement, saying that while investigations are ongoing, they believe that the hidden tunnel is an extension of a previous unfinished tunnel that Mexican authorities discovered and seized.
CBP added that with the discovery of the 30 undocumented immigrants, it becomes clearer to authorities that the tunnels are serving a dual purpose for perpetrators today.