U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agents in San Diego discovered a smuggling tunnel early Saturday after arresting dozens of illegal aliens near the border.
In the early morning hours on Saturday, CBP agents encountered several people near the Otay Mesa port of entry who had just been smuggled into the U.S., the CBP announced in a statement.
Agents searched the area and stumbled upon a “crude opening” in the ground with a ladder inside that the agents quickly determined was a smuggling tunnel.
Agents arrested a total of 30 illegal aliens, 23 Chinese nationals and seven Mexican nationals, 25 of whom were men.
It is not uncommon for agents to find subterranean tunnels along the U.S.-Mexico border, especially in California and Arizona, however, this specific type of tunnel was a rare find:
While subterranean tunnels are not a new occurrence along the California-Mexico border, they are more commonly utilized by transnational criminal organizations to smuggle narcotics. However, as this case demonstrates, law enforcement has also identified instances where such tunnels were used to facilitate human smuggling.
What concerns U.S. officials about human smuggling tunnels is that they leave the U.S. particularly vulnerable to infiltration by Islamic terrorists and other dangerous criminals.