Border Patrol agents say human smugglers are exploiting the Tijuana River Valley culvert system meant to drain raw sewage at the U.S.-Mexico border; putting agents, emergency responders and migrants at risk for drowning and exposure to highly toxic substances.
During a storm, sewage flows from Tijuana’s hillsides into their tributaries, or streams, and then across the border into a maze of drainage pipes and culverts in the United States. Millions of gallons of waste water flows across, some of it eventually emptying into the Pacific Ocean.
When it rains, smugglers encourage migrants to cross into the United States through the storm drains that run under the border infrastructure, according to Border Patrol.
Since October, at least 45 people have been apprehended in the area for trying to enter the country through the sewer and storm water tunnels, according to Agent Jarrett Decker, a public affairs officer in the Border Patrol’s San Diego Sector.
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