OTAY MESA, Calif. (KGTV) - Dozens of feet down a dark hole inside an Otay Mesa warehouse lies a sophisticated drug tunnel found by Homeland Security officials on last Friday morning. They said it stretches from Tijuana to the warehouse 300 feet north of the U.S.-Mexico border.
"It's estimated to 1,744 feet long and 61 feet deep and with a diameter of about 4 feet at its widest point,” said Randy Grossman, the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District Of California
Dr. David Shirk of the University of San Diego said tunnels are frequently used in areas that are fenced along the border. He told ABC 10News that where the highest concentration of detection equipment is located.
"In order to detect these tunnels. You need either on the ground intel to know where the movements are coming and going or highly sophisticated sensing technology which is not always 100 percent foolproof,” said Shirk, who’s the chair of USD's Department of Political Science & International Relations.
But Shrik said the technology on the border has evolved in the last 30 years.
"Border Patrol uses inferred technology, you know, just visibly to see where people are coming into and moving around the border. They use technology like ground sensor systems so they can detect vibration and movement,” Shirk said.
Shirk also mentioned that deep ground penetration surveillance from the air is also used to see what's going on underground similar what used for mining.
When it comes to the recent Otay Mesa case involving a tunnel, it was found differently.
"The tunnel was discovered because of good old fashion police work,” Grossman said. "We allege that the defendants were driving into the garage and loading or dropping off cardboard boxes full of drugs to further the movement or distribution of drugs throughout the United States."
In general, Shirk said when it comes to these tunnels and law enforcement digging to find them, it's a constant game of cat and mouse.
"The same advances in technology that benefit the government and Department of Homeland security and their detection efforts, some of those same kinds of benefits of technology are beneficial to the other side,” Shirk said.