On Friday, US state authorities uncovered a huge drug-smuggling tunnel running beneath the US-Mexico border.
According to officials, the complex route connected Tijuana, Mexico, with a warehouse in San Diego and contained a train, ventilation systems, electricity, and reinforced walls. The tunnel was 1,744 feet long, roughly a third of a mile, and 61 feet deep, or nearly six floors.
The average amount of time the tunnel was operational is unknown; however, law officials seized nearly 1,762lb (799kg) of cocaine, 164lb (74kg) of methamphetamine and 3.5lb (1.5kg) of heroin, which is estimated to be worth around $25 million.
Six California residents were charged with three felony counts. If proven guilty, they face a lifetime of imprisonment and a fine of 1 million USD.
Over the last two decades, more than a dozen well-equipped tunnels have been discovered near San Diego’s Otay Mesa border area. This is one of the most heavily defended sections of the border.
According to authorities, officers observed numerous vehicles coming and going from the Tijuana property and the warehouse on Friday, May 13th. They were then pulled over and searched, with the drugs seized and arrests made.
“In a span of a few hours, agents watched five vehicles come and go from the stash house and this warehouse; we allege that the defendants were driving into the garage and loading or dropping off cardboard boxes full of drugs to further the movement or distribution of drugs throughout the United States, the federal agents were watching the whole time,” U.S. Attorney Randy Grossman stated.
As the officers entered, they spotted the cross-border tunnel exit point carved out of the warehouse cement floor.
“There is no more light at the end of this narco-tunnel,” said Randy Grossman, U.S. attorney for the Southern District of California.
“We will take down every subterranean smuggling route we find to keep illicit drugs from reaching our streets and destroying our families and communities.”
The excavation of tunnels requires that the US side be filled with concrete.