Border Tunnels, Part 3
When The Giant Tunnel was discovered in San Diego -- all 3,000
feet of it or more -- the local politicians decided to stop all
of the illegal tunnel construction. Pronto. They passed a law.
Yes, so now when you are smuggling that nuclear weapon or those
million pounds of cocaine you will not do it though a tunnel because
you will get an extra 20 years in prison. So instead of LIFE,
now you get LIFE PLUS TWENTY.
We do need to put this in perspective. The United States built
a tunnel once (actually at least two of them if we include the
one in Vienna) and it was in Berlin.
The tunnel went from a custom made building in West Berlin to
a small buried telephone exchange cable vault in East Berlin.
This tunnel cost about $50 million -- in 1955 dollars. It was
only about 10 feet below ground (because of the water table) but
it was only half as long as the drug tunnel discovered in San
Diego. When drug smugglers build tunnels longer and deeper than
those built by the CIA we do have
a problem and an extra 20 years tacked on to any sentence cannot
solve the problem.
We have to find the tunnels.
What is required is to first benchmark the border in such detail
that any tunnel large enough to pose a threat can be recorded.
The tunnel detector won't know that it found a tunnel, it will
just record what it "saw." Once a history is recorded
for the border area of interest then new scans will show changes
which would hint at something that is very likely to be a tunnel.
The United States Army built sensitive tunnel detection hardware
nearly 20 years ago and it worked well then and can work even
A concerned 12 year old boy actually built an extremely sensitive
border tunnel detector as a science fair project. He used the
proven U.S. Army method and detected changes in the earth as small
as the removal of six
inches of earth. His detector found such changes even 100
Of course, no one took it seriously because it worked. The Department
of Energy's Sandia Laboratories has used the 12 year old boy's
science to build inspection systems to scan 40 foot cargo containers
in 30 seconds. It works.
When queried by the media, Immigration and Customs Inspection
(not the U.S. Border Patrol) said that they were already using
Ground Penetrating Radar (which had just been proved -- by a 3,000
foot long tunnel being used for years -- did not work) and were
happy with what they had.
Detecting access to storm drain systems is an easier problem
to solve because very sensitive fiber optic devices are available.
Such devices can detect movement along the drain and certainly
the original seismic event of the breakthrough into the drain.
These systems also offer manhole cover sensors
The other way to detect these tunnels is to detect not the tunnel
but the dirt being hauled away. If you have a line array of seismic
sensors and you listen to all the noises that are coming from
south of the border then it is pretty easy to detect the thumps
of trucks full of dirt driving over bumps. By using several sensors
it is possible to "point" to the spot where all those
bump noises are happening. If this system determines that somebody
must be building a ten story building and all that's on the site
is a one story wooden house, then TUNNEL might leap to mind.
That 3,000 foot long tunnel took the removal of maybe 400 full
sized dump trucks of dirt or 3,000 full pickup trucks.