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Tipsheet

Smugglers Use Saws to Cut Through Areas of New Border Wall

AP Photo/Evan Vucci

When someone breaks out of prison, it doesn't mean the prison was a waste of money, especially if the prison is still under construction. But that's how some people are responding to news that smugglers are using electric saws to cut through new areas of Trump's border wall. If agents can't nab these criminals on smuggling charges, maybe now they can get them for destruction of government property. 

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(Via The Washington Post)

SAN DIEGO — Smuggling gangs in Mexico have repeatedly sawed through new sections of President Trump’s border wall in recent months by using commercially available power tools, opening gaps large enough for people and drug loads to pass through, according to U.S. agents and officials with knowledge of the damage.

The breaches have been made using a popular cordless household tool known as a reciprocating saw that retails at hardware stores for as little as $100. When fitted with specialized blades, the saws can slice through one of the barrier’s steel-and-concrete bollards in a matter of minutes, according to the agents, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly about the barrier-defeating techniques.

After cutting through the base of a single bollard, smugglers can push the steel out of the way, allowing an adult to fit through the gap. Because the bollards are so tall — and are attached only to a panel at the very top — their length makes them easier to push aside once they have been cut and are left dangling, according to engineers consulted by The Washington Post.

The breaches have occurred in areas that are still under construction, where electronic sensors capable of detecting vibrations are yet to be installed, according to officials who spoke to The Post. Engineers estimate that it would take between 15 to 20 minutes for a team of smugglers to cut through a bollard, maybe less if the team was larger and had more saws. And multiple blades would likely be needed in order to make a single cut. Instead of a wide-open border, smugglers now have to operate noisy equipment and stand in place for 20 minutes, giving border patrol agents an opportunity to find them. 

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It's also reported that smuggling crews have used makeshift ladders to scale the wall, but The Post notes the increased risk of injury and death by using makeshift ladders on a wall equivalent in height to a three-story building. 

Whereas previously smugglers could cross wide open areas of the border, the wall promises to deter smugglers by increasing their risk of apprehension, injury, and death. It is by far one of the best investments our government has ever made, though admittedly that's a pretty low bar. 

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