Latest News: Technology |  Celebrity |  Movies |  Apple |  Cars |  Business |  Sports |  TV Shows |  Geek

Trending

Filed under: News

 

How tunnels are built, used along US-Mexico border

Jan 14 2014, 9:56pm CST | by

10 Updates
 
 

Comments

Recommend Your Tweet as Top Tweet:

Full Story

How tunnels are built, used along US-Mexico border

How smugglers build and use tunnels along the US-Mexico border

NOGALES, Ariz. (AP) — As border security has tightened, drug cartels have turned to tunneling beneath the ground to avoid detection.

Nearly 170 tunnels have been found nationwide since 1990, most along the Arizona and California border with Mexico. The job of searching these networks can be dangerous, so the U.S. Border Patrol is unveiling its latest technology in the underground war — a wireless, camera-equipped robot that can do the job in a fraction of the time.

HOW ARE THEY BUILT?

Tunnel construction ranges from extremely rudimentary, a small burrow dug by hand sometimes only large enough for a person to crawl through, to very sophisticated, including lights, supports to hold up the ceiling and ventilation. They can range from just a few feet stretching from one side of the border to the other, to up to a quarter mile long.

Some tunnels merely go from one side of the border to the other with the contraband being offloaded in a field or on public land, while others exit into warehouses or homes along the border.

Miners and other laborers hired by cartels use hoes, jackhammers, shovels and picks to gouge out soil and load the dirt into buckets that are brought back out of the tunnel's starting point in Mexico. Their tools are old-fashioned and can be bought at home improvement stores. Miners, for instance, must use compasses because GPS devices don't work underground.

Smugglers have dug dozens of crude tunnels in Nogales, Ariz., that begin in Mexico and tie into the Arizona city's storm drainage system.

For sophisticated tunnels, such as those found near San Diego, cartels will hire engineers and miners to build the tunnels. A cartel will have a financier or a cell that reports to the cartel bosses and runs the construction.

U.S. border officials estimate that the more sophisticated tunnels probably cost between $2 million to $3 million to build.

HOW ARE TUNNELS USED?

Smuggling groups use tunnels to move drugs, guns and people who want to sneak across the U.S. border, though traffickers are sometimes selective about what they will move through their tunnels.

Experts say sophisticated tunnels are used for mostly drug and gun smuggling, though people who don't want to risk traveling above ground will occasionally be sneaked through those tunnels.

Cocaine and methamphetamine are brought in through the tunnels, but marijuana — which is big and bulky and therefore difficult to move — is the most prevalent drug transported through the tunnels.

Authorities found a 600-yard tunnel in Southern California during November 2011 that resulted in seizures of 32 tons of marijuana on both sides of the border, with 26 tons found on the U.S. side, accounting for one of the largest marijuana busts in U.S. history. That tunnel was equipped with electric railcars, lighting and ventilation while wooden planks lined the floor.

Immigrant smugglers use "gopher hole" tunnels made up of huge PVC pipes that are buried underground and span the border, providing enough space through which a person can barely squeeze.

The storm-drain tunnels in places like Nogales are used for both immigrant and drug smuggling.

HOW ARE TUNNELS DISCOVERED?

The majority of tunnels are found by human intelligence, either by Mexican or U.S. authorities patrolling the border and noticing the ground has been disturbed, or through informants who tip authorities to their presence.

HOW ARE TUNNELS EXPLORED AND INVESTIGATED ONCE THEY'RE LOCATED?

So-called tunnel robots have been in use by Border Patrol for several years. They can safely navigate through corrugated pipes, tunnels, and drainage systems while an agent controls the device from the surface, seeing what the robot sees on a handheld screen. The robots are used, in part, as a safety measure to keep agents out of harm's way as many tunnels can be poorly built and possibly collapse and lack proper ventilation.

They also can navigate an underground labyrinth in a fraction of the time it would take an agent to explore the tunnel. Some of the newer robots, which weigh about 12 pounds and can navigate through passageways that are only several feet wide, are being deployed this year across southern Arizona and California.

Source: U.S. Customs and Border Protection and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

___

Billeaud reported from Phoenix.

Source: AP

 

You Might Also Like

Updates


Sponsored Update

Update: 10

MRCB, Nusa Gapurna and PKNS settle suit over RM3 billion PJ Sentral project

Source: Malaysia Today

(The Malaysian Insider) – Malaysian Resources Corp Bhd (MRCB), Nusa Gapurna Development Sdn Bhd (NGD) and PKNS Holdings Sdn Bhd have reached an out-of-court settlement over th ...
Source: Malaysia Today   Full article at: Malaysia Today Jun 21 2014, 2:53am CDT
 


Advertisement


Update: 9

Story behind Syed Mokhtar’s ‘RM2.25 billion tax-exempt’ Bernas deal revealed, says PKR MP

Source: Malaysia Today

(The Malaysian Insider) – An innocuous written reply in Parliament has provided a peek into the cosy relationship between the Najib administration and Malaysia’s best-known businessman, Tan Sri Syed Mokhtar... READ ...
Source: Malaysia Today   Full article at: Malaysia Today Jun 15 2014, 12:56pm CDT
 

More From the Web

Update: 8

Constitutional monarchy still murky concept

Source: Malaysia Today

After the RM4.5 billion land sale, the Sultan of Johor secured a 15% stake in MOL Access Portal (MOL) for RM396 million and took a 20% stake in Berjaya Times. ...
Source: Malaysia Today   Full article at: Malaysia Today Jun 14 2014, 12:37am CDT
 

Update: 7

Sultan of Johor’s RM4.5 bil backlash?

Source: Malaysia Today

49th Karlovy Vary International Film Festival
Has Sultan Ibrahim of Johor’s succession of big money deals over the last six months caused the tide of public opinion to turn against Johor’s royal palace? KiniB ...
Source: Malaysia Today   Full article at: Malaysia Today Jun 11 2014, 8:49am CDT
 

Update: 6

Putrajaya denies carpet dealer given interest-free loan

Source: Malaysia Today

Eileen Ng, The Malaysian Insider Putrajaya today refuted allegations that Bank Rakyat had allowed carpet dealer Deepak Jaikishan to repay a RM32 million loan without interest following intervention from a... ...
Source: Malaysia Today   Full article at: Malaysia Today Jun 11 2014, 5:44am CDT
 

Update: 5

Malaysia Spends Over $9 million on MH370 Hunt: Report

Source: NDTV

49th Karlovy Vary International Film Festival
Malaysia has so far spent about RM27.6 million (over $9 million) on search operations for missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, an official said ...
Source: NDTV   Full article at: NDTV Jun 9 2014, 3:12am CDT
 

Update: 4

Bill for Kidex likely to soar to RM3.4b

Source: Malaysia Today

The original RM2.4 billion tag on the proposed highway did not take into account the cost of acquiring the land mostly in the urban areas, claims an assemblywoman Fabian Comelius,... READ ...
Source: Malaysia Today   Full article at: Malaysia Today Jun 9 2014, 2:51am CDT
 

Update: 3

MACC: No elements of graft in Bank Rakyat’s loan to businessman

Source: Malaysia Today

BET AWARDS '14 - Red Carpet
(Bernama) – The Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) found no elements of corruption in Bank Rakyat’s RM32 million interest free loan to a businessman. MACC in a statement today ...
Source: Malaysia Today   Full article at: Malaysia Today May 31 2014, 9:33am CDT
 

Update: 2

IHH Healthcare posts 25% rise in 1Q earnings to $62 mil

Source: The Edge Singapore

IHH Healthcare Berhad announced that revenue grew by 8% y-o-y to RM1.8 billion ($703 million) for 1Q2014 ended March, as earnings grew 25% YoY to RM159.1 millio ...
Source: The Edge Singapore   Full article at: The Edge Singapore May 29 2014, 11:29am CDT
 

Update: 1

Hasan Malek evades media over RM32 million Bank Rakyat loan scandal

Source: Malaysia Today

Elizabeth Zachariah, The Malaysian Insider The minister embroiled in the RM32 million Bank Rakyat loan scandal refused to take questions from the press today at an event in Kuala Lumpur.... READ MORE ...
Source: Malaysia Today   Full article at: Malaysia Today May 28 2014, 11:42pm CDT
 

Shopping Deals

 
 
 

<a href="/latest_stories/all/all/30" rel="author">Associated Press</a>
The Associated Press (AP) is one of the largest and most trusted sources of independent newsgathering, supplying a steady stream of news to its members, international subscribers and commercial customers.

 

 

Comments

blog comments powered by Disqus

Latest stories

Glass iPhone, iPad and Macs coming
Glass iPhone, iPad and Macs coming
Apple is no stranger to building devices mostly out of glass, but the company is apparently interested in the possibility of using only glass for future mobile devices such as iPhones, as well as even bigger...
 
 
Stevie Nicks joins Levine Team on The Voice
Stevie Nicks joins Levine Team on The Voice
Legendary singer Stevie Nicks joins NBC's The Voice as an adviser to Adam Levine.
 
 
Ashley Tisdale has a Lot of Things on her Mind
Ashley Tisdale has a Lot of Things on her Mind
Ashley Tisdale currently has a whole lot of things on her mind. She has her wedding coming up and is getting a makeover too.
 
 
Will Samsung Change The Flash Game with V-NAND SSD?
Will Samsung Change The Flash Game with V-NAND SSD?
One week ago Samsung introduced its new 850 PRO SSD by giving evaluation samples to a number of bloggers who regularly review SSD technology. For any one unfamiliar with the term, an SSD is a box that looks, feels, and...