Border Patrol arrests 30, seizes cross-border smuggling tunnel

U.S. Border Patrol agents at San Diego Sector discovered a cross-border smuggling tunnel early Saturday morning

Leaving them intact means it's easier for cartels to just build new entrances and reclaim tunnels on the Mexican side of the border.

Underground tunnels are nothing new - with some used to smuggle people into the country, border agents said.

The agents discovered the tunnel after encountering several people who had apparently just been smuggled into the California city, near the Otay Mesa port of entry, early Saturday, CBP said.

Outskirt Patrol operators captured 30 outsiders associated with intersection a Southern California fringe Saturday through an underground passage, government experts said.

In August 2016, they uncovered a 30-meter (100-foot) tunnel running from the Mexican state of Sonora into Arizona. Once they've been cleared, authorities fill tunnels with cement, but only up to the Mexican border.

The opening to the tunnel had been covered by dry bush and branches.

The San Diego Tunnel Task Force and Homeland Security officials are on the scene and are coordinating with Mexican law enforcement officials in the investigation.

'Preliminarily it appears this latest tunnel may be an extension of an incomplete tunnel previously discovered and seized by Mexican authorities, ' the CBP wrote in a press release. "However, as this case demonstrates, law enforcement has also identified instances where such tunnels were used to facilitate human smuggling".

Customs and Border Patrol officials told NBC 7 in the last two years there has been an uptick in nationals from countries other than Mexico trying to enter the country illegally.

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