California border patrol agents made a startling discovery over the weekend when they found a crude tunnel that was being used to smuggle Chinese nationals and other illegal immigrants from Mexico into the U.S.
The tunnel, with a ladder inside, was spotted near San Diego’s Otay Mesa border crossing, authorities said. Border agents happened upon it at 1 a.m. Saturday after arresting a group of 30 people who had just been smuggled into the U.S. through the tunnel. The group included 23 Chinese nationals, including two women.
“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,” U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement spokeswoman Virginia Kice told KNSD-TV. “However, as this case demonstrates, law enforcement has also identified instances where such tunnels were used to facilitate human smuggling.”
Some in the group tried to run off when agents approached them. Others ran back into the tunnel.
The group also included seven Mexicans, including three women.
Those who were detained were taken to the border patrol station in Chula Vista to be questioned, the San Diego Union-Tribune reported.