US agents have arrested 30 illegal immigrants believed to have crossed into San Diego via a cross-border smuggling tunnel from Mexico, US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) stated.
The agents discovered the tunnel after encountering several men and women who had apparently just been smuggled in the California city, close to the Otay Mesa port of entry, early Saturday, CBP said.
“US Agents searched the area and found a primitive opening in the floor with a ladder inside and decided that is was a smuggling tunnel. The tunnel's exit is located just north of the secondary fence in the neighborhood of the Otay Mesa port of entry.” “The 30 aliens are now in Border Patrol custody pending further questioning.”
CPB said the group consisted of 23 Chinese and seven Mexican nationals. “While underground tunnels aren't a new phenomenon along the California-Mexico border, they're more commonly utilized by transnational criminal organizations to smuggle narcotics. However, as this case shows, law enforcement has also identified cases where such tunnels were used for human smuggling,” it stated.
The San Diego Tunnel Task Force is exploring the tunnel in coordination with law enforcement in Mexico. “Preliminarily it appears that this new tube could be an expansion of an incomplete tunnel previously found and seized by the Mexican government,” said CPB