DHS Inspector General: ‘80 Percent Increase’ in Cross-Border Tunnels Since 2008

Penny Starr, CNS News, October 19, 2012

In its final report on Customs and Border Protection’s strategy to address illicit cross-border tunnels issued Sept. 26, 2012, the Office of Inspector General for the Department of Homeland Security said there has been an 80 percent increase in the “tunnel activity” since 2008.

“Since 1990, law enforcement officials have discovered more than 140 tunnels that have breached the U.S. border, with an 80 percent increase in tunnel activity occurring since 2008,” the report stated in its executive summary.

“Illicit cross-border tunnels along the southwest border of the United States represent a significant and growing threat to border security,” the summary stated. “Criminals primarily use the tunnels to transport illegal narcotics into the United States.

The report was done “to determine whether U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has developed an operational strategy to detect and remediate cross-border tunnels, and has acquired tunnel detection technology,” which is “part of its overall border security and law enforcement missions.”

The summary pointed out, however, “the program has not matured to a point where it demonstrates how it will consider the needs of Homeland Security Investigations” with the development and acquisition of tunnel-detecting technology.

In a Sept. 22 story aired on National Public Radio, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said the technology on the border was better than ever before.

“It is safe to say that there has been more money, manpower, infrastructure, technology, invested in the border-protection mission in the last three years than ever before,” Napolitano said.

The OIG report revealed that law enforcement has recovered approximately 169,000 pounds of narcotics valued at more than $200 million from drug traffickers using tunnels.

“Criminals also attempt to use cross-border tunnels to smuggle contraband, currency and weapons,” the report stated.

The report defined tunnels in three categories—rudimentary, interconnected and sophisticated. Some 42 percent of detected tunnels are sophisticated, which are described as “elaborately constructed and may use shoring, ventilation, electricity, and rail systems. Such tunnels have stretched more than 2,000 feet. Often the tunnel entrances and exits are located within existing structures, such as in residences or warehouses.”

The report stated that DHS’s mission is to “disrupt and dismantle” operations of smuggling and trafficking across the U.S. border, but concludes that “CBP does not have technology to allow it to detect tunnels routinely and accurately.”

As to recommendations made by the OIG, the report stated:

“We are making two recommendations to CBP to improve consideration of the needs of both CBP and Homeland Security Investigations. We are also making two recommendations to the department to improve coordination and oversight of CBP and Homeland Security Investigations counter-tunnel efforts,” it said.

“The Department and CBP agreed with three of our recommendations and did not provide sufficient detail for concurrence or non-concurrence with one recommendation,” the report stated.

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  • Puggg

    This is how Obama can get away with saying that there are fewer border crossings.  The illegals are crossing underground.

  • The__Bobster

    We need a device to collapse these tunnels from above. The collateral damage will be a pleasant bonus.

  • Jed Sant Devi

    Tunnels are necessary to break through the barriers that separate White privilege from the enriching Aztec custom of blood feasting.

  • Defiant White


    Could giant Mexican sandworms escaping from tequilla bottles be responsible and Obongo is trying to hide the truth?

    I smell a coverup bigger than the Lybia thing.

  • bluffcreek1967

    I’m so sick of Mexico and Mexicans! Here in California, we are drowning in these people! Almost everywhere we turn, we see the brown gangbangers with their shaved heads, the illegal alien peasants pushing their food carts, the short and always pregnant Mexican-Indian mothers pushing their strollers with 3 or 4 additional kids trailing behind her. Virtually every public advertisement is written in both English and Spanish. Far too many neighborhoods have loose dogs running around, gang graffiti on almost every wall, lawns are not kept up, most of the homes are surrounded with steel rod fences and there is third-world atmosphere that permeates everything. This is what liberals have done to this once great State! And mark this: California is a model for what Mexicans will do to every State in our Union if given the chance!    

  • bluffcreek1967

    Yes, many of them would self-deport. But there’s one little problem with that argument that we tend to neglect: Those illegal aliens (mostly Mexicans) who wouldn’t be eligible for government handouts would STILL remain here because they have blood relatives who would continue to support them rather than allow them to return to Mexico. The relatives would find some kind of work for them, and they would more or less be dependent on them. The Mexicans would simply make more room for them inside their homes. So, in form or another, many (though not all) of the Mexican invaders would remain in our country.