DEA Seize $29 Million Worth Of Drugs From Huge Smuggling Tunnel Under US-Mexico Border
The United States’ Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) discovered millions of dollars worth of drugs in a huge smuggling tunnel that crosses the border between the US and Mexico.
Federal agents discovered the tunnel stretches more than 2,000 feet between a warehouse in the Otay Mesa section of San Diego to another warehouse in Tijuana, Mexico.
The tunnel is three-foot-wide and estimated to have an average depth of 31 feet, with reinforced walls, ventilation, lighting and a rail system.
US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) released a statement on the discovery, announcing agents managed to seize approximately 4,400 pounds worth of drugs from the tunnel, consisting of 1,300 pounds of cocaine, 86 pounds of methamphetamine, 17 pounds of heroin, 3,000 pounds of marijuana and more than two pounds of fentanyl.
The street value of the drugs is estimated at around $29.6 million.
John W. Callery, DEA Special Agent in Charge, commented on the successful find, saying:
These tunnels show the determination of drug trafficking organisations to subvert our border controls and smuggle deadly drugs into our community.
But these recent tunnel seizures also show the dedication of our amazing partners on the San Diego Tunnel Task Force to locate and shut down these tunnels to keep our communities safe.
The tunnel was discovered on March 19 following an an investigation by the San Diego Tunnel Task Force, which includes the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations, US Border Patrol, the DEA and the United States Attorney’s Office.
The tunnel entrance in Mexico was found first, and agents went on to obtain a federal search warrant for the warehouse in Otay Mesa, where the exit point was uncovered.
Agents believe the tunnel had been in use for several months.
US Attorney Robert Brewer described the discovery as the most valuable single-day tunnel seizure in recent memory, and the largest seizure of multiple drugs in one tunnel.
If cartels keep spending millions of dollars building tunnels, we will keep finding and filling them.
This time, we seized a jaw-dropping $30 million worth of dangerous drugs that aren’t going to reach the streets.
This takedown is even more significant in the face of a global pandemic, where stopping the movement of unauthorized people and packages across international borders is of utmost importance.
Cardell T. Morant, Acting Special Agent in Charge of Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) San Diego, said:
I’m proud of the excellent work performed by Homeland Security Investigations agents, as well as US Border Patrol and Drug Enforcement Administration agents as integrated partners of the San Diego Tunnel Task Force. Their tenacity made the difference in shutting down this tunnel.
I hope this sends a clear message that despite the ongoing public health crisis, HSI and our law enforcement partners will remain resilient and continue to pursue criminal organisations responsible for the cross-border smuggling of narcotics into the United States.
The discovery marked the first time in San Diego’s history that five different types of narcotics were found inside a single tunnel.
The San Diego Tunnel Task Force expressed their thanks to the Government of Mexico authorities for their cooperation in the bi-lateral investigation.
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CreditsUS Immigration and Customs Enforcement and 1 other
US Immigration and Customs Enforcement
NBC San Diego