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Rep. August Pfluger, R-Texas, says the discovery of a massive 1,700 foot cross-border tunnel used by drug smugglers to bring drugs into the United States is a wake-up call for lawmakers in Washington D.C. to pass legislation to combat the problem.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of California announced Monday that it located the tunnel, which goes from Tijuana, Mexico to a warehouse in Otay Mesa. The 61-foot deep tunnel includes reinforced walls, a rail system, electricity and a ventilation system.
It was discovered Friday by Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) who were conducting surveillance on a suspected stash house. Authorities have also charged six people with drug trafficking, seizing over 1,700 lbs of cocaine, 164 lbs of methamphetamine and 3lbs of heroin.
Authorities said the tunnel was discovered as officials began sweeping the area for drugs. They conducted drug raids on several homes where drugs were known to be stashed and then checked the warehouse, where they discovered the tunnel.
At least 15 of these sophisticated tunnels across the border have been discovered since 2006, officials said.
Pfluger introduced a bill last year that would make Customs and Border Protection (CBP) develop a “counter illicit cross-border tunnel operations strategic plan” and submit regular reports on its implementation to Congress. It also authorizes funding for CBP for counter tunnel interdiction and related operations.
That bill passed in the House in April with bipartisan support, but has currently not been voted on in the Senate. Pfluger blamed Democrats for dragging their feet on the matter.
“It took House Democrats over 250 days to support my border security tunnel bill. These pictures underscore the extreme sense of urgency,” he said in a statement to Fox News Digital. “Wake up!”
The discovery of the tunnel comes amid a continued crisis at the southern border. There were more than 234,000 migrant encounters at the southern border in April, and that number is expected to rise if the Title 42 public health order is lifted at the end of the month.
The order, which has been used to expel a majority of migrants at the border since March 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, is due to end on May 23 — but is currently being challenged by a lawsuit by two dozen Republican states.
Fox News’ Lawrence Richard and The Associated Press contributed to this report.