SAN ANTONIO — It's one thing to build a wall to secure the border above ground, but how do you secure the ground beneath it?
Fox San Antonio's Yami Virgin sits down with the DEA who tells us drug traffickers will go above or below to smuggle drugs in and out of our area,
According to the DEA, law enforcement has found nearly 200 smuggling tunnels along the US Mexico border over the last few years. The majority of them officials say are found in Arizona and California.
When you talk about tunnels most people immediately think of "El Chapo" and the tunnels that were made to help him escape from Mexican prisons, but tunnels are also used to smuggle drugs from Mexico into the U.S.
"My understanding those were tunnels, that dug into an existing sewer or drainage system, that was there, so tunnel, might have been more of a dramatic term that they were using a true tunnel like you might see along the California Mexico, Arizona or Arizona/Mexico border," said Dante Sorianello, DEA.
For decades, drug traffickers have been digging tunnels as a means to import and export drugs without being detected... most of them where there are bigger cities.
"There in certain places along the border you have a city on the United States side and you have a city on the Mexican side, so you can actually tunnel from one structure, underground to another structure," said Sorianello.
This is perfect for smugglers who are looking for a way to move their large quantities of drugs without loosing a load.
"I know they moved lots of marijuana through, I know they moved cocaine through, I would assume methamphetamine also," said Sorianello.
One of the most notorious underground tunnels.... the Narco tunnel. Used by the Sinaloa cartel to transport large quantities of drugs into the United States. Not surprising that once again "El Chapo" was the mastermind of this first cross-border narcotúnel from Agua Prieta to Douglas, Arizona, in 1989. Since then these tunnels have become more sophisticated.
"They have found some very very sophisticated tunnels, that have their own track system and things of that nature," said Sorianello.
How dangerous is that?
"I'm not an expert on it, but I would think depending, and I'm not an engineer, I think anytime you're digging underground, you do run the risk of cave-ins and things of that nature, but you have some very very smart people who are engaged in construction of these tunnels," said Sorianello.
El Chapo is due to be sentenced on June 26th. In your neighborhoods... On the streets... Fox San Antonio and the DEA will keep you informed and safe.