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DEA Seize $29 Million Worth Of Drugs From Huge Smuggling Tunnel Under US-Mexico Border

by : Emily Brown on : 02 Apr 2020 08:48

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. 

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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.

DEA discovers half mile long tunnel between US Mexico borderDEA discovers half mile long tunnel between US Mexico borderU.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement

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.

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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.

Drugs discovered in tunnel stretching across US Mexico borderDrugs discovered in tunnel stretching across US Mexico borderU.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement

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.

Ladder leading into tunnel which cross US Mexico borderLadder leading into tunnel which cross US Mexico borderU.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement
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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.

He commented:

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.

Drugs discovered in tunnel stretching across US Mexico borderDrugs discovered in tunnel stretching across US Mexico borderUS Immigration and Customs Enforcement

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.

DEA discovers half mile long tunnel between US Mexico borderDEA discovers half mile long tunnel between US Mexico borderUS Immigration and Customs Enforcement

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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Emily Brown

Emily Brown first began delivering important news stories aged just 13, when she launched her career with a paper round. She graduated with a BA Hons in English Language in the Media from Lancaster University, and went on to become a freelance writer and blogger. Emily contributed to The Sunday Times Travel Magazine and Student Problems before becoming a journalist at UNILAD, where she works on breaking news as well as longer form features.

Topics: News, Drug Enforcement Administration, Drug Smuggling, Drugs, Mexico, San Diego, Tunnel

Credits

US Immigration and Customs Enforcement and 1 other
  1. US Immigration and Customs Enforcement

    San Diego Tunnel Task Force uncovers sophisticated cross-border drug tunnel under the US/Mexico border

  2. NBC San Diego

    Nearly $30M in Drugs Seized From ‘Sophisticated’ Tunnel That Connects Otay Mesa, Tijuana Warehouses