US authorities announced they had uncovered a major drug-smuggling tunnel under the US-Mexico border, the latest such find on the troubled frontier.
US and Mexican officers seized at least 14 tonnes of marijuana and arrested two people linked to the "sophisticated" tunnel, which joined warehouses in Tijuana, Mexico and Otay Mesa in California. The 400-yard-long tunnel, complete with electricity and ventilation, was unearthed on Tuesday by the San Diego Tunnel Task Force after authorities spotted a suspicious truck leaving the Otay Mesa warehouse.
The US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) service trumpeted the find as a major victory over Mexican drug cartels.
"The drug cartels mistakenly believe they can elude detection by taking their contraband underground, but, again and again, we've been able to find these tunnels and shut them down,"said ICE official Derek Benner.
The operation began when highway police stopped the suspicious truck and found three tonnes of marijuana. Two men were arrested and a warrant was issued to search the warehouse, where agents found another 6.5 tonnes of marijuana. "Investigators discovered the entrance to the passageway. From the warehouse floor, the tunnel plunges more than 20 feet to the bottom of the shaft. The passageway, measuring four feet by three feet, is equipped with structural supports, electricity and ventilation," it added.
Mexican counterparts, alerted by the US side, entered the Tijuana warehouse and found five to six additional tonnes of marijuana.
14 The amount of marijuana found (in tonnes) in the 20-feet deep tunnel