U.S. finds California-Mexico tunnel
Third passage found in area in 3 years
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(CNN) -- U.S. border patrol agents investigating a caved-in road discovered a tunnel linking the United States and Mexico, the third such passage found in three years near the San Ysidro, California, crossing, authorities said Wednesday.
Lauren Mack, a spokeswoman for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency, said agents found the 35-foot long, 3-foot-by-3-foot tunnel on Monday.
"It's unclear what it was used for, but inside we found trash and other evidence indicating people had been inside recently," Mack said.
That evidence has given investigators good leads, she added.
The tunnel -- which Mack described as "primitive" -- surfaced in U.S. territory in a strip of land between the border fence and a public parking lot. It's just west of the San Ysidro port of entry into the United States, one of the busiest land border posts in the world, she said.
A longer, more sophisticated tunnel was discovered in the same area in 2003, when a man was spotted lifting bales of marijuana from it and loading them into a pickup, Mack said. A tunnel found in 2004 was a link to the sophisticated underground passage, she added.
Tightened border security since the September 11, 2001, attacks is the likely cause for an increase in U.S. to Mexico tunneling, Mack said. At least 15 tunnels have been found in California and Arizona since 9/11, she said.
"We've now got a dedicated tunnel task force, which works with the [Drug Enforcement Administration] and border patrol to proactively look for tunnels," Mack explained.
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