Susan Luzzaro 9:45 p.m., June 18
The U.S. House Judiciary Committee passed a bill Tuesday which would help law enforcement crack down on illegal tunnels along the Mexico border. The bill would allow law enforcement to prosecute landowners, prosecute those that fund the tunnels, and wiretap communications in suspected buildings that house tunnels. Previously wiretaps were only available with proof of drugs or contraband.
The bill states that 149 tunnels have been found between the fiscal years of 1990 and 2011. The vast majority, 139 tunnels, have been found since 2001. 40 of these tunnels were found in California since 2006.
Several tunnels have been found in the Otay Mesa warehouse district in San Diego. In November a sophisticated tunnel was found that continued for 400 yards and connected near the Tijuana airport.
House Resolution 4119, also called the Border Tunnel Prevention Act , is now on its way to the House for further approval. The current bill is sponsored by sponsored by U.S. Rep. Silvestre Reyes, D-El Paso. A similar bill by U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-California was approved by the Senate in January.
You can read the full bill below. http://judiciary.house.gov/hearings/Markups%202012/PDF/112hr4119ih.pdf