Another Drug Smuggling Tunnel Discovered Between the United States and Mexico

On Tuesday, U.S. authorities discovered a sophisticated drug tunnel running between San Diego and Tijuana.  The tunnel stretched 400 yards and demonstrated sophisticated engineering.  In addition to the tunnel, seventeen tons of marijuana was seized on the American side and another seven tons on the Mexican side.  This is not the first drug tunnel discovered between the two nations, and it certainly will not be the last.  The discovery of yet another tunnel calls into question United States as well as Mexican policy in trying to stem the flow of illegal drugs into the United States.


Fighting the war on drugs is difficult because the reward for the smugglers is so high.  Many Mexicans face a difficult economic situation, and some see drug smuggling as a means to provide for their family.  With Mexican law enforcement being as corrupt and ineffective as it is, the risk of getting caught is relatively low.  While in the United States the risk of getting caught may be greater, to many the large amounts of money one can make tend to mitigate these risks.  If seventeen tons of marijuana were found in relation to this raid, who knows how much was smuggled into the U.S. before authorities were alerted to the tunnel’s existence.  The copious sums of money generated by the drug smuggling business ensure its existence.


The war on drugs will continue to pose new difficulties.  Despite this, drug laws are the law of the land, and until they no longer are an effort must be made to enforce them.  Certainly, greater efforts need to be made by Mexico to end corruption in law enforcement.  If both the United States and Mexico can operate on equal terms in fighting the drug war, it will lead to more large seizures and serve to put a dent in the drug trade.  Innovation is also key.  Law enforcement needs to constantly be developing new ways to interdict drug smugglers.  If there is any stagnation, drug smugglers will remain one step ahead of law enforcement.  Since the beginning of the war on drugs, untold sums have been spent and no end is in sight.  In light of this, how should the United States spend its resources in fighting the war on drugs?

For more information on the drug tunnel see:


  1. How the United States should spend their resources in fighting the war on drugs is probably one of the most debated about issues in the history of our country, and coming up with one answer is extremely difficult to say the least. However, I have always felt that the United States should spend more money on treatment and prevention programs rather than utilizing most of it’s allocated funds towards improving and increasing law enforcement. Obviously, there needs to be some resources set aside for law enforcement purposes, but drug smugglers and sophisticated drug organizations / cartels will always develop new tools and strategies to evade the authorities. As long as there is a huge demand for narcotics, the supply will continue to increase. As a result, I feel it will be more effective to really focus on decreasing narcotic demand rather than allocating a majority of resources to fighting the war on drug supply, which is one no country can win.

  2. The discovery of this latest tunnel is a small victory for the cooperative efforts of various agencies, such as ICE, the DEA, and the San Diego Tunnel Task Force. However, as Louis has mentioned, law enforcement in Mexico has been corrupted by the historical successes of drug smuggling and the overwhelming presence of violent drug cartels. These cartels have been fighting to gain regional control in some of the most profitable areas of the country for drug trafficking. In turn, the cartels have been, in effect, reducing the legitimacy of law enforcement officials and drug enforcement agencies. Unfortunately, as a result, all roads (or underground tunnels) seem to be leading to the United States. Not only are these tunnels impinging upon the law enforcement efforts against the drug trade in both countries, they could be dangerous and tempting, threatening national security and fueling illegal immigration.

  3. I tend to agree with Christopher. Treatment programs for citizens in the U.S. might help decrease demand for the drugs that are coming from Mexico. Both the U.S. and Mexico have already tried to use law enforcement to fight the cartels. Additionally, some believe that the Mexican army uses too much force, and may at times go after innocent citizens. While the Mexican government should continue to fight the cartels, we in the U.S. have an opportunity to fight the cartels by decreasing demand for the products they sell by encouraging drug treatment for those who rely on the cartels’ products. In order to truly end the drug cartels, the drugs they sell must become unnecessary. We can do that if we convince citizens that they don’t want or need those drugs.

  4. I think Chris and Amy bring up two very important points when assessing this issue. I too, believe the United States needs to reconsider the factors leading to the demand of narcotics and reducing that demand. For instance, it is no secret that the relationship between poverty and drug usage in impoverished areas suggests at least a correlation between the two. Wouldn’t it be logical to implement some more resources to reducing that issue when attacking the drug smuggling issue? Clearly, poverty is just one example of a factor creating the high demand for drugs in the United States, but such factors are not negligible and may provide more efficient ways of reducing the demand for drugs in the United States.

    As Amy pointed out, it is important to remember that the dangers posed by these tunnels are not limited to drug trafficking. Illegal immigration and national security are real and significant concerns that cannot be overlooked when discussing the scope of the usage of these tunnels.

  5. One thing the United States definitely should not do is invest more money in the war on drugs. Throwing good money after bad is never a successful solution. Some argue that the best solution may be to eliminate the black market for drugs by legalizing them (or at least some of them such as marijuana). If certain drugs were legalized, the government could tax them at a very high rate and use the proceeds to fund rehabilitation programs (for those who are addicted). This logic sounds flawed at first pass but the argument is that people will use drugs whether they are legal or not so better to legalize them, eliminate an out-of-control black market, and devote tax revenue to helping those who want to stop using.

    America is a market for Mexican drug lords, just as it was a market for organized crime leaders like Al Capone during prohibition. So the argument goes that putting drugs on the market will take drugs off the black market which, in turn, will decrease the crime and violence associated with the black market.

  6. Our country’s resources for helping those addicted to drugs is abysmal. Unless someone has 50k laying around for a private rehab facility (which most people who have sat around doing drugs for years and have the problem do not) the choices for state help involve substituting one drug for another. These “maintenance” programs are subsidized but the facilities are not able to keep up with the growing demand of people seeking help. It would be great if the government put more money into researching a better way to help these people then “maintaining” their addictions, which in some cases has people going to these clinics for the rest of their lives to get these substituted drugs. I agree with everyone above, resources need to be allocated to both fighting the drug smugglers bringing in drugs and for better rehabilitation facilities to help people already addicted recover and to become functioning citizens benefiting society. As much as I am against legalizing marijuana, if the government took the money received from taxes and put it into resources for those struggling with serious drug addictions, I would be more supportive of legalization.

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