Daily Archives: January 8, 2009

Counting the border tunnels of 2008

drugtunnellistaOne of the things I miss about my old job as a border reporter is the opportunity to chase after border tunnels. This happened regularly, and you can read what that was like in this previous post. Before I left the The San Diego Union-Tribune in late 2007,  I pulled together a comprehensive list of cross-border tunnels found since 1999 that was posted here in this interactive map.

Curious to see what kind of tunnel activity took place in 2008, I started digging around news reports. It appears that Arizona was a hotspot for tunnels last year (where they tend to be connected to the drainage system). For more information, read this Arizona Republic report. Here is my (in?) complete list:

Jan. 16, 2008: This National Drug Intelligence Center report refers to a passageway that consisted of three short tunnel segments and a drainage system that was found in Nogales, Arizona.

April 1/2, 2008: A small,  incomplete tunnel was found that entered 14 feet into the United States near the Otay Mesa Port of Entry in the San Diego area, according to this report in The San Diego Union-Tribune.

From May-August, 2008: Trying to confirm information of additional tunnels found along the Arizona border???

Sept. 1?, 2008: Mexican authorities found an incomplete tunnel equipped with air conditioning, lights and en elevator along the Mexicali-Calexio border in California.Eight men were arrested after being found with digging tools, according to this report by The San Diego Union-Tribune.

October 25,2008: Tunnel found two miles west of  Calexico, California that started in a house on the Mexican side of the border, according to this reprinted weekly Border Patrol blotter list. 

December 10, 2008: An incomplete tunnel was found that stretched about 10 feet into the United States. The small tunnel was found near the San Ysidro port of entry. It was discovered when a vehicle drove over a weak spot in the pavement, according to The San Diego Union-Tribune.

December, 2008: Various news reports refer to nine tunnels being found along the Arizona-Mexico border from October through December. This AP story refers to one found Dec. 29 near the Nogales port of entry. In November, U.S. authorities were investigating a possible cross-border tunnel, according to this article by the Yuma Sun that also refers to a Mexican report that confirmed a tunnel find in Arizona.

As you can see, the list isn’t complete (sorry – this isn’t my full time job anymore!)  and I don’t feel comfortable yet saying X tunnels were found along the border in 2008, but it’s a starting point.

****NOTE: Due to possible incomplete and uncorroborated information, this list should not be used as a reference tool at this time****

Photo of a tunnel found in 2007 in Tecate.