Tension has always marked the U.S.-Mexico border region. The terrain is dangerous, hot, and riddled with various martial forces, both official and unofficial, on both sides of the border. This month, DEA officials have unearthed four elaborate and expensive tunnels that were dug underneath the U.S.-Mexico border, most likely for the use of smuggling arms and drugs undetected between the two countries.
Three tunnels have been uncovered along the Arizona border, and another was discovered at the California border, the Washington Post reports. The most noted and the most recent tunnel was discovered near Nogales, Arizona in an area of brutally dry heat.
The tunnel is estimated to have cost about $2 million to build and probably required expert feats of engineering. This partcular tunnel included over 6-foot high ceilings, ventilation, and ran over 755 feet long. Investigators discovered the warehouse that housed the original entrance after a routine seizure of 39 pounds of methamphetamines near Yuma, Arizona last week. Officials were then able to trace the route back to the nondescript warehouse in Arizona where the tunnel began.
The other side of the tunnel connected with an inoperative ice house in Mexico. The building was tucked behind a strip club. Investigators have stated that the tunnel is an “extraordinary piece of engineering,” according to the Washington Post.
Officials have not released the identities of the three individuals who were detained in connection with the methamphetamine drug bust. Doug Coleman, one of the main agents working on the case, believes that the capture of these three people is only the tip of the iceberg in terms of the operation surrounding the high-tech tunnel.
Many authorities have concluded that the tunnel was used in order to smuggle drugs across the border undetected. More than 150 tunnels have been discovered along this border region of the United States over the last ten years, but officials say that nothing like this construction has come across their path before, the BBC reports.
Although DEA agents were not able to come away with a large supply of drugs, officials working on the case feel hopeful that finding this tunnel will help stop the importation of illegal substances from crossing the border in either direction.
The border between the United States and Mexico remains one of the most deadly areas for immigrants in the country. At least eight people have been killed by border patrol forces in the last two years, sparking controversy and concern about the region. Arizona has also had serious legal battles regarding immigration legislation in the last two years.