The agents discovered the tunnel after encountering several people who had apparently just been smuggled into the California city, near the Otay Mesa port of entry, Saturday. When agents approached a group of people at the site early Saturday morning, some started running and others went back into the tunnel. “US Agents searched the area and discovered a crude opening in the ground with a ladder inside and determined that is was a smuggling tunnel. The tunnel’s exit is located just north of the secondary fence in the vicinity of the Otay Mesa port of entry,” US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) said.
“Preliminarily it appears this latest tunnel may be an extension of an incomplete tunnel previously discovered and seized by Mexican authorities,” CBP added. Members of the San Diego Tunnel Task Force are coordinating closely with their law enforcement counterparts in Mexico on the investigation. In 2016, federal agents said they seized a ton of cocaine and seven tons of marijuana smuggled through a tunnel in the same area that stretched a half mile beneath the border. Subterranean tunnels are not a new occurrence along the California-Mexico border but they are more commonly utilized by transnational criminal organizations to smuggle narcotics.