Friday, August 12, 2011

Mexico uncovers tunnel beneath US border


A soldier of the Mexican Army walks along a trans-border tunnel (AFP/File, Francisco Vega)

TIJUANA, Mexico — Mexican troops have discovered an unfinished 300-meter (980-foot) tunnel beneath the US border that would likely have been used to smuggle drugs and people, officials said Friday.

Mexican General Alfonso Duarte announced the find, saying the entrance to the tunnel was inside a house in the border town of Tijuana that was made to appear as though it was under construction.

He added that 10 people were detained in the operation, including a woman who had been helping to dig the tunnel for nearly a year.

The tunnel was around 1.8 meters (six feet) high and a meter (three feet) wide, and had a lighting and ventilation system, officials said.

US officials said in June that more than 150 secret tunnels for smuggling people and drugs into the United States have been found since 1990.

Mexico has seen a wave of unrest in recent years as powerful drug cartels have battled over lucrative trade routes to the United States, with some 41,000 people killed in drug-related violence since 2006.

That year President Felipe Calderon launched a massive military crackdown, which critics say has led the cartels to develop more advanced tactics and more brutal methods without bringing security to border communities.


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