WASHINGTON – Last week, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) special agents, working with Mexican authorities, discovered a 183-foot long subterranean tunnel in Mexicali, Baja California, near the international border.
“I commend the ICE special agents who worked with their counterparts in Mexico to discover this tunnel,” said Secretary Alejandro N. Mayorkas. “Shutting down these tunnels is critical to stopping drug trafficking organizations and ensuring that illicit goods do not make their way into the United States.”
HSI special agents and Mexican authorities discovered the tunnel inside of a residence near the international border and determined that a drug trafficking organization (DTO) dug the approximate 4-foot by 3-foot tunnel nearly 22 feet beneath the ground.
The tunnel, which has an entrance measuring 12 feet by 10 feet, extends 3 feet north of the international border wall, but has no exit on the U.S. side of the border. The DTO equipped the tunnel with electricity, ventilation, a rail system with a cart, and an electric hoist.
“These types of tunnels enable drug traffickers to conduct illicit activities virtually undetected across the U.S.–Mexico border,” said Cardell T. Morant, special agent in charge of HSI San Diego. “Discovering and shutting down these tunnels deals a major blow to drug trafficking organizations because it denies them the ability to smuggle drugs, weapons and people across the border.”
This is an ongoing HSI-led investigation with assistance from the El Centro Sector Border Patrol and the government of Mexico.
The HSI San Diego Tunnel Task Force thanks the government of Mexico for its cooperation in this investigation.
Law enforcement often relies on the public’s assistance in identifying the location of subterranean tunnels. Anyone may anonymously report suspicious activity to the Tunnel Task Force at 1-877-9TUNNEL (1-877-988-6635).
HSI is a directorate of ICE and the principal investigative arm of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), responsible for investigating transnational crime and threats, specifically those criminal organizations that exploit the global infrastructure through which international trade, travel and finance move. HSI’s workforce of over 10,400 employees consists of more than 7,100 special agents assigned to 220 cities throughout the United States, and 80 overseas locations in 53 countries. HSI’s international presence represents DHS’s largest investigative law enforcement presence abroad and one of the largest international footprints in U.S. law enforcement.