BREAKING NEWS Out Of California

Photo courtesy of California Border Patrol

Dean James III% AMERICA’S FREEDOM FIGHTERS 

Thirty illegal aliens trying to cross into the United States from Mexico through a hidden tunnel spanning the border were detained by authorities in San Diego early Saturday.

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The tunnel, with a ladder inside, was spotted near San Diego’s Otay Mesa border crossing, authorities said. Border agents happened upon it at 1 a.m. Saturday after arresting a group of 30 people who had just been smuggled into the U.S. through the tunnel. The group included 23 Chinese nationals, including two women, FOX reported.

The group also included seven Mexicans, including three women.

“While subterranean tunnels are not a new occurrence along the California-Mexico border, they are more commonly utilized by transnational criminal organizations to smuggle narcotics,” U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement spokeswoman Virginia Kice told KNSD-TV. “However, as this case demonstrates, law enforcement has also identified instances where such tunnels were used to facilitate human smuggling.”

Some in the group tried to run off when agents approached them. Others ran back into the tunnel.

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Those who were detained were taken to the border patrol station in Chula Vista to be questioned, the San Diego Union-Tribune reported.

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The tunnel was near a fence line and hidden by dry brush and branches, according to reports.

The tunnel’s entrance was in a building in the Garita de Otay area in Tijuana, more than 300 feet south of the U.S.- Mexico border, KNSD reported.

Authorities say the tunnel, which stretched about a mile, may be an extension of an incomplete tunnel previously discovered by Mexican authorities.

The arrest of Chinese nationals at the U.S.-Mexico border also signals a new trend.

The Union-Tribune reported in June that the number of unauthorized Chinese immigrants coming to San Diego has skyrocketed in recent years.

Border Patrol agents in the San Diego sector apprehended an estimated 663 Chinese nationals between October and May, compared with 48 Chinese nationals last fiscal year, five in fiscal 2014 and eight in fiscal 2013, the paper reported.

A Border Patrol spokeswoman told the paper that criminal organizations involved in smuggling maximize their profits by transporting Chinese immigrants, often charging anywhere from $50,000 to $70,000 per person.

“The further you travel from, the more arrangements these criminal organizations have to make, the more expensive it will get,” the spokeswoman told the paper.

Mass emigration from China is also fueling the increase.

China has become one of the world’s leading sources of immigrants, the paper reported, citing a new study.

Members of the San Diego Tunnel Task Force, led by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), are currently on scene investigating.

ICE spokeswoman Virginia Kice sent this statement to NBC 7 about the tunnel, which read, in part:

“While subterranean tunnels are not a new occurrence along the California-Mexico border, they are more commonly utilized by transnational criminal organizations to smuggle narcotics. However, as this case demonstrates, law enforcement has also identified instances where such tunnels were used to facilitate human smuggling.

The probe into the newly discovered tunnel is ongoing and members of the San Diego Tunnel Task Force are coordinating closely with their law enforcement counterparts in Mexico on the investigation. Preliminarily it appears this latest tunnel may be an extension of an incomplete tunnel previously discovered and seized by Mexican authorities.”

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Dean James III% AMERICA’S FREEDOM FIGHTERS

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