'A candy store for smugglers': Step inside the million-dollar drug tunnels that 'riddle' the US-Mexico border

Mexico drug tunnel US agents

US federal prosecutors announced on March 23 that authorities had uncovered a 400-yard tunnel between Mexicali, Mexico, and Calexico, California, and 1,350 pounds of marijuana traveling through it.

Just four days later, US border agents in Arizona discovered another tunnel, an incomplete one stretching only 80 feet, reaching into Nogales.

Finding two tunnels under the US-Mexico border in such a short period of time wasn’t just dumb luck.

“Drug traffickers love using tunnels,” journalist Ioan Grillo told Business Insider. “The Mexico-US border is like a block of cheese with holes in it, with tunnels across it.”

“US-Mexico border is literally riddled with tunnels,” Mike Vigil, the former head of international operations at the Drug Enforcement Administration and author of “Deal, told Business Insider. “They have to move those drugs across the border and probably the most secure method is through the use of tunnels.”

Traffickers have dug tunnels all along the 2,000-mile frontier between the US and Mexico, and the hard-to-detect nature of those passages, and the highly lucrative cargos that pass through them, ensure that there will always be more to find.

SEE ALSO: Mexico’s defense chief: ‘We have committed errors’ in the war on drugs

“Many, many years ago, they were a very unsophisticated. They weren’t very long. They were relatively short,” Vigil said. The first so-called narco tunnel was built in 1989, by the Sinaloa cartel of Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán.

Source: The New Yorker

“You look at some tunnels which are very, very basic, and I’ve been to look at some of these from the US side,” Grillo said. “And you see that they’re quite basic, you know, shovel, get in there, and kind of dig through under the border quite basically.”

Over the past 25 years, authorities have found 181 narco tunnels under the US-Mexican border, according to The New Yorker. Most of those have been short, narrow passages, or “gopher holes.”

Source: The New Yorker

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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