Border patrol agents in Hidalgo, Texas, have reportedly discovered a 60-foot tunnel, which was still under construction, near the Rio Grande River leading toward Mexico, right where President Trump plans on building his border wall, a local CNN affiliate reported Friday.
“You’ve seen them on the news in Arizona and New Mexico and stuff like that, but I’ve never seen one in the Valley,” said Orthal Brand Jr., who is president of the Hidalgo County Water Improvement District 3. “That’s the first one I’ve seen that’s in our back yard.”
Brand told the station that the tunnel is reportedly hidden near the bottom of a 30-foot embankment and is very difficult to see and get rid of.
“It’s hard for me to put a piece of equipment on the edge of a 30-foot sand cliff, and reach down and try to collapse something, without putting my own piece of equipment and my operator at risk,” he said.
Brand said he is working with the Border Patrol and U.S. Fish and Wildlife to find another way to get rid of the tunnel.
He told the Rio Grande Guardian earlier this week that his team also plans to enlist the help of an explosives company.
“My men climbed down and looked at it. It needs dynamite to blow it. I would like to praise the Marine division of Border Patrol,” he told the international news service.
“Boots on the ground would not have seen it. Helicopters would not have found it. Drones, sensors, would never have found it,” he added. “You could only see it from the river. They looked at the cliff and found it. It was all covered up with bamboo and brush. It looked kind of dry, which alerted them to it.”
Just last month, Customs and Border Protection (CBP) revealed that the largest single group of asylum seekers to ever cross the U.S. border at one time did so by tunneling under steel fencing near San Luis, Ariz.
Smugglers dug multiple holes that were several feet long underneath the steel border fence so that the group of 376 asylum seekers could enter, according to ABC.
Mexican authorities also announced last month the discovery of a third tunnel in a town across the southern border from Arizona that they suspect was used to transfer drugs and people across the border.
#Nogales #Sonora. Como parte de nuestro servicio para brindar seguridad en la zona fronteriza, policías federales detectaron un túnel de casi 10 metros de longitud, presumiblemente usado para cometer ilícitos. Tu reporte es seguro y confidencial llama 088 o usa #PFMovil. pic.twitter.com/uenMTmZ6H5
— Policía Federal Mx (@PoliciaFedMx) January 9, 2019
During a roundtable discussion with law enforcement officials in McAllen, Texas, earlier this month, U.S. Customs and Border Protection Agent Melissa Lucio showed President Trump how enterprising border crossers have dug elaborate tunnels under walled off sections of the U.S.-Mexico border, unintentionally debunking the president’s case for a border wall.
“Here, this is just a couple of miles from where we stand,” Lucio explained.
“This is a tunnel,” she said, pointing to a photograph of the tunnel. “This is the second tunnel recently that we have located. This is an area that we actually have wall.”
Border agent accidentally debunks #Trump’s case for a #borderwall: “Here, this is just a couple of miles from where we stand. This is a #tunnel. This is the second tunnel recently that we have located. This is an area that we actually have wall.” pic.twitter.com/sOXDdxKBSV
— GuardiansOfDemocracy (@Guardemocracy) January 11, 2019