Blog dedicated to reporting on Mexican drug cartels
on the border line between the US and Mexico

Monday, November 15, 2021

The Law Against Tunnels At The Border Using Cartels and Human Traffickers

"Sol Prendido" for Borderland Beat 

Last August, DHS found a sophisticated tunnel to cross the border into California, but the Border Patrol recognizes that it needs better technology to locate these structures in time and prevent drug crossing and human trafficking, which is intended with a Republican bill

The Department of Homeland Security has reported the discovery of sophisticated tunnels on the border.

Joaquín "El Chapo" Guzmán Loera challenged the US authorities with the construction of tunnels on the border to cross cocaine and other drugs, but criminal organizations also learned that lesson and have continued with the development of increasingly sophisticated crossings, not only for the crossing of drugs, but also for immigrants.

Faced with this, the Customs and Border Protection Office (CBP) promotes a multi-year project to use the best technology of the moment, in order to quickly detect crossings. The plan is integrated into a legislative reform and the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) revealed that at least $2 million is required for planning alone.

In 2018, almost 400 migrants crossed a small tunnel in Yuma, Arizona, then reported the president of the National Border Patrol Council, Brandon Judd.

"He's the biggest I've ever heard of," Judd told CNN.

Last August, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced the discovery of a sophisticated tunnel in Mexicali, Baja California, and although the authorities did not announce which criminal organization built the infrastructure 22 feet underground (about six meters or approximately three floors of a building), DEA and United States Congress reports locate only two cartels that control the area: Sinaloa and Jalisco New Generation.

"The two largest organizations, the Sinaloa Cartel and the Jalisco New Generation Cartel (CJNG), show signs of expansion in Mexico," highlights the US drug agency.

On February 23 of this year, CBP published a report on tunnels, originated from President Donald Trump's Executive Order 13767 of January 2017, "Improvements in border security and immigration law enforcement."

It took the agency four years to report the challenges it faces for tunnel detection and their eventual blocking, which requires advanced technology and constantly updated, but at the same time as the report it implemented some actions with more than $700 million allocated.

"(CBP) has implemented a series of new tools and technologies that have improved the Border Patrol surveillance and efficiency capabilities along the southwest border," he says. "However, these updates are incomplete, as CBP has implemented about 28 percent of the planned underground technology and surveillance solutions, even after receiving more than $700 million in funds since fiscal year 2017."

The problems he faced were: change of priorities, delays in construction, lack of available technological solutions and funding limitations.

"As a result, most sectors of the Southwest Border Patrol still depend predominantly on obsolete systems and infrastructure with limited capacities," the agency states.

What's next?

Last June, Republican August Pluger (Texas) introduced the "Defense against Illicit Crossing at the Border" or H.R., 4209 bill, which establishes the guidelines for CBP to develop and implement a "strategic plan."

"(Considering) criteria ... to prioritize the identification, violation, evaluation and repair of illicit transboundary tunnels," he says. "Promote the use of innovative technologies to identify... and remedy tunnels."

It also includes processes to share the location, operations and technical information of the crossings by each sector of the Border Patrol, in order to train field personnel.

Pluger also indicates that the agency must establish the required technological needs, as well as additional specialized personnel.

Upon requiring additional funds, the CBO needed to submit a tax impact report, which it released last week.

"CBO estimates that CBP would spend $2 million during the period 2022-2026 to implement the bill," he notes in the brief report.

It is not clear what the allocation of funds will be like, but the budget project for fiscal year 2022 proposes $1.2 billion for investments in port and border security, which includes investments in security personnel and technology.

La Opinion


  1. "DEA and United States Congress reports locate only two cartels that control the area: Sinaloa and Jalisco New Generation." What about CAF? Have they been completely wiped out of Mexicali?


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