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23 Chinese are caught tunneling into US illegally
usa.fjsen.com 2017-08-31 11:59:28   来源:China Daily 责任编辑:兰楚文
23 Chinese are caught tunneling into US illegally

Tunnel exit on US-Mexico border with a ladder inside. PROVIDED TO CHINA DAILY

Twenty-three Chinese people, including two women, and seven Mexicans, including three women, have been arrested by US Border Patrol agents after they had came out of a tunnel near the Otay Mesa port of entry in San Diego, California.

"Out of the group of 23 Chinese nationals, 22 were from the province of Fujian, and one was from the province of Guandong," Ralph DeSio, a press officer with the US Customs and Border Protection (CBP), told China Daily in an email.

Their ages range from 17 to 46 years old, according to DeSio.

So far it is not clear how they made contact with the smugglers, also known as "snakeheads" among Chinese people, and how much they paid the snakeheads. The 30 people are now in border patrol custody pending further questioning.

The agents encountered several people at the site early Saturday morning. Then they searched the area and discovered a crude opening in the ground with a ladder inside.

The tunnel began in Tijuana, Mexico, more than 300 feet south of the US-Mexico border, though the authority has not yet been able to determine its length.

The San Diego Tunnel Task Force, led by US Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations, is currently on scene investigating and the probe into the newly discovered tunnel remains ongoing.

While subterranean tunnels are not a new occurrence along the California-Mexico border, they are more commonly utilized by transnational criminal organizations to smuggle narcotics, according to CBP.

And while the CBP has also identified instances where such tunnels were used to smuggle people, it came as a surprise that Chinese people were involved.

Smuggling Chinese across the southern US border is more lucrative than smuggling individuals from Mexico or Central America, according to a 2016 article in the San Diego Union Tribune.

A longer journey means more arrangements the criminal organizations have to make and steeper prices - the rate per person is believed to be somewhere between $50,000 and $70,000.

Border Patrol agents in San Diego stopped approximately 663 immigrants from China over the eight-month period ending May 2016, compared with 48 Chinese nationals in the previous fiscal year.

The smuggling of Chinese into the US by sea has not been a common phenomenon over the past few decades.

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