Friday, June 17, 2011

'Crime tunnels' beneath U.S. and Mexican border smuggle people, drugs

According to U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement official James Dinkens, illicit "tunnel activity has been on the rise since the first documented tunnel was discovered in 1990. Since then, 154 tunnel attempts have been discovered, all but one of which were located along the southwest border" with Mexico. "Over the past several years, law enforcement has seen a marked increase in the number and sophistication of tunnels," Dinkens told a senate hearing. California Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein says she would introduce a bill to tighten an already existing illegal tunnel law passed in 2007. According to Feinstein, the thrust of the new legislation is to make illegal tunnel-making a more serious offense: conspiracy. Some of the tunnels are quite primitive and others are very sophisticated with internal rail systems and ventilation, officials said. "It is a real serious penetration into the U.S.," Feinstein, who leads the senate's anti-drug trafficking committee, said. "They could mobilize large groups." Feinstein noted that only one person has been prosecuted for "crime tunnel" building...more

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