Authorities find massive drug-smuggling tunnel between Tijuana and San Diego

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U.S. authorities connected Monday announced the find of a large cause smuggling passageway — moving astir the magnitude of six shot fields — from Mexico to a warehouse successful an concern country successful the U.S.

The concealed transition from Tijuana to San Diego featured obstruction and ventilation systems, energy and reinforced walls, authorities said. It was discovered adjacent San Diego's Otay Mesa borderline crossing successful an country wherever much than a twelve different blase tunnels person been recovered successful the past 2 decades.

U.S. authorities said it was chartless however agelong the passageway had been operating and what magnitude of drugs, if any, got done undetected. They seized 1,762 pounds of cocaine, 165 pounds of meth and 3.5 pounds of heroin successful transportation with the investigation.

Six people, ages 31 to 55, were charged with conspiring to administer cocaine. All are Southern California residents.

The passageway is successful 1 of the astir fortified stretches of the border, illustrating the limitations of borderline walls. While considered effectual against small, crudely built tunnels called "gopher holes," walls are nary lucifer for much blase passages that tally deeper underground.

The latest passage, discovered Friday, ran one-third of a mile to Tijuana. It was 4 feet successful diameter and astir six stories deep.

Border Tunnel This undated photograph provided by Homeland Security Investigations shows the wrong of a transverse borderline passageway betwixt Mexico's Tijuana into the San Diego area. Homeland Security Investigations via AP

The benignant of drugs seized whitethorn awesome a displacement from the multi-ton loads of marijuana that were often recovered successful discoveries earlier California legalized cookware for recreational usage successful 2019.

Hard drugs, specified arsenic heroin, methamphetamine and fentanyl, are typically smuggled done authoritative borderline crossings from Mexico due to the fact that their tiny size and deficiency of odor marque them hard to detect. But tunnels springiness smugglers an vantage of being capable to transportation immense loads astatine lightning speed.

The passageway exited the United States successful a nondescript warehouse named "Amistad Park" connected a thoroughfare that is engaged with ample semitrailers during the time but quiescent astatine night. On Monday, equipped guards watched implicit a tiny shaft with a ladder that descended into the tunnel.

After staking retired a location that was precocious utilized to stash drugs, officials began making postulation stops of vehicles that had been determination oregon astatine a warehouse adjacent the border, turning up boxes afloat of cocaine, according to a national transgression ailment filed successful San Diego.

They raided the properties — uncovering nary different drugs astatine the warehouse, but a passageway opening carved into the cement floor, national prosecutors said.

US Mexico Border Tunnel Law enforcement officers basal by the opening of a cross-border passageway connected Monday, May 16, 2022 betwixt Mexico's Tijuana into the San Diego area.  Elliot Spagat / AP

Authorities person recovered astir 15 blase tunnels connected California's borderline with Mexico since 2006.

Many tunnels, including the 1 announced Monday, are successful San Diego's Otay Mesa concern area, wherever clay-like ungraded is conducive to digging and warehouses supply cover.

The cross-border passages day backmost to the aboriginal 1990s and person been utilized chiefly to smuggle multi-ton loads of marijuana. The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration said successful 2020 that they are mostly recovered successful California and Arizona and associated with Mexico's Sinaloa cartel.

Authorities declined to nexus the latest passageway to immoderate circumstantial cartel. They claimed triumph contempt not knowing however agelong it had been operating.

"There is nary much airy astatine the extremity of this narco-tunnel," said Randy Grossman, U.S. lawyer for the Southern District of California. "We volition instrumentality down each subterranean smuggling way we find to support illicit drugs from reaching our streets and destroying our families and communities."

By national law, U.S. authorities indispensable capable the U.S. broadside of tunnels with factual aft they are discovered.

In: Mexico Mexico-United States Border cocaine Drug Bust