The Border Patrol presented Wednesday at a press conference in San Diego details of a clandestine cross-border tunnel of more than 1.3 kilometers in length between southern California and the Mexican city of Tijuana.
The corporation indicated that it is the largest passageway found so far in the San Diego area, although it refrained from taking the press through the tunnel, and said it was discovered by an inter-institutional coalition called the Border Tunnel Task Force, through intelligence and technological research.
“What makes this tunnel unique is its extension and that is highly sophisticated, although we don’t know how long it would take them to build it. Obviously it was a long time,” the interim regional director of National Security Investigations Cardell Morant told Efe.
The tunnel starts in Tijuana and crosses south of San Diego along a total of 1,313 meters. It passes about 800 meters west of the port of entry of Otay Mesa, California. It also measures approximately one and a half meters high and about 60 centimeters wide.
According to the official Morant, the tunnel has air conditioning, an elevator, a rail system and a cart similar to those used in mining projects, in addition to a wired lighting system, high voltage power supply and drainage .
The Border Patrol reported that the passage was initially found last August, but it was flooded and the water had to be drained.
None of the authorities that participated in the press conference presented any estimate of the cost of the construction of the tunnel.
The director of the Federal Drug Administration (DEA) in San Diego, John Callery, said that sophisticated aspects mean a strong investment of resources and a prolonged construction effort.
He added that “Mexican drug cartels were forced to build it because we increased our security.”
The tunnel was located near where the first transboundary tunnel between Mexico and the United States was found in 1993, which was found about 500 meters west of the Otay Mesa port of entry.
In recent statements, the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) office estimated that until last year more than 200 tunnels had been discovered on the border between Mexico and the United States.