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The Drug Tunnels

Updated on February 2, 2013

Along both sides of the US-Mexican border, drug enforcement officials are hunting for drug smuggling tunnels. Many times, they begin within a house or near a house in a border town in Mexico and ends in the US in or near a warehouse. These tunnels are very much like those seen in the movie, The Great Escape, where US POWs in WW2 dug a tunnel, a sophisticated tunnel, to escape a German POW camp.

Since 1990, about 33 of similar tunnels (out of 159) have been discovered from California to Arizona. The hot zone for tunnel smugglers is clearly at Otay Mesa, near Tijuana, Mexico, just across the California border. There, nearly 10 such tunnels have been discovered. At San Ysidro, Tecate and Tierra del Sol, two more tunnels, at Calexico, four tunnels.

Most of the tunnels are usually dug at least 90 feet below the surface and up to 3000 ft. long (1000 yards). The entrance usually has reinforced concrete blocks and drugs are pushed along a track in a cart. The tunnel itself is up to six feet in height, has wood supports and electricity. Most of these tunnels also have a storage area where drugs are stored and then moved one by one up a 45 ft. staircase.

The drug tunnels are expensive- about $1 million to build over a course of nine months. Drug tunnel building has increased 80% in the past four years. The drug cartels hire engineers from the Durango mining state to design and construct the tunnels. Most of the drugs moved using the tunnels is pot, some 100 tons with a value of $60 million USD.

I am sure the drug cartels got the idea from "The Great Escape", a true story.


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    • tirelesstraveler profile image

      Judy Specht 5 years ago from California

      Very nice tunnels, wonder how they work in an earthquake? Probably would sustain an earthquake well if they are engineered by mining consultants. Voted up useful and interesting.