Drugs are big business and traffickers will go to great lengths to get their product on the streets. One of the latest methods is a recently discovered drug tunnel that stretches between San Diego and Mexico. The sophisticated pathway included rail tracks, ventilation and lighting – all right under the US border. Authorities found the tunnel, which linked two warehouses, and they managed to seize more than eight tons of marijuana and 325 pounds of cocaine in the process.
The San Diego Tunnel Task Force, which includes members of ICE, the DEA and Customs and Border Protection, found the tunnel just south of the Otay Mesa border crossing in Tijuana, Mexico. Authorities said that the tunnel was found before it was used, and three people were arrested.
While it’s a surprising story, it’s not a new one. Authorities report that nearly four dozen tunnels have been discovered under the Mexican border in just the past five years. Most are used to smuggle drugs into the U.S. Not all are this sophisticated, but some did include lighting, ventilation and even elevators. Some are even located in private homes.
The closure of the costly tunnel – especially before it was able to be used – is a big win for drug enforcement. US Attorney Laura Duffy noted at Thursday’s news conference that the tunnel cost drug traffickers “years and tens of millions of dollars” to build.
There’s still plenty more to do, though. At a news conference Thursday afternoon, ICE Special Agent In Charge Derek Benner said, “We are by no means finished here,” warning would-be traffickers, “Don’t say we didn’t warn you.”
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By Wendy Lee Nentwig