Border agents arrest 30 at cross-border smuggling tunnel

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Tunnel exit with ladder inside.

SAN DIEGO — Border Patrol agents arrested 30 people suspected of entering the country illegally through a smuggling tunnel spanning the US-Mexico border.

Aerial view of approximate tunnel exit into the US.

Around 1:30 a.m. Saturday, agents patrolling near the Cross Border Xpress in Otay Mesa saw a group of several dozen people and tried to approach them for questioning, according to the San Diego sector of U.S. Border Patrol. Some people in the group ran back into what the agents discovered to be the exit of a cross-border tunnel with a ladder inside near Drucker Lane and Siempre Viva Road.

Agents made 30 arrests both inside and outside the tunnel. Of those arrested, 23 were Chinese nationals — 21 men and two women between 17 and 46 years old, and seven Mexican nationals — four men and three women.

No drugs were discovered.

Mexican authorities were working to determine who was responsible for constructing and operating the tunnel.