Border officials discover ‘fully operational’ drug tunnel linking Tijuana to San Diego


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US authorities on Monday announced the discovery of a massive tunnel stretching under the US-Mexico border that was likely used to transport undetected drugs.

The “fully operational” tunnel over 1,700 feet connects Tijuana to an industrial warehouse in San Diego, California. Authorities said it contained a “sophisticated” structural system that was likely used to smuggle heroin, methamphetamine and fentanyl into the United States.

The opening of a cross-border tunnel between Tijuana in Mexico and the San Diego area is scheduled for Monday, May 16, 2022.
(AP Photo/Elliot Spagat)

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“It is estimated to be about 1,744 feet long, 61 feet deep, with a diameter of about 4 feet at its widest point,” said Randy Grossman, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of California. “It has reinforced walls, a rail system and electricity for ventilation.”

US authorities did not say how long the tunnel had been operating, but said $25 million worth of drugs were seized from the tunnel and its agents over the weekend. The drugs included 1,762 pounds of cocaine, 165 pounds of methamphetamine and 3.5 pounds of heroin.

Law enforcement stands at the opening of a cross-border tunnel Monday, May 16, 2022 between Tijuana, Mexico and the San Diego area.

Law enforcement stands at the opening of a cross-border tunnel Monday, May 16, 2022 between Tijuana, Mexico and the San Diego area.
(AP Photo/Elliot Spagat)

Six Southern California residents have been arrested and charged with conspiracy to distribute cocaine, officials said.

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The industrial warehouse where the tunnel leaks is near the U.S. Customs and Border Protection port of entry at Otay Mesa, but U.S. officials have not commented further on the find, Fox 5 reported. .

This undated photo provided by Homeland Security Investigations shows the interior of a cross-border tunnel between Tijuana, Mexico and the San Diego area.  (Homeland Security Investigations via AP)

This undated photo provided by Homeland Security Investigations shows the interior of a cross-border tunnel between Tijuana, Mexico and the San Diego area. (Homeland Security Investigations via AP)

The Department of Homeland Security is investigating the tunnel.

Authorities said the tunnel was discovered as authorities began scanning the area for drugs. They conducted drug raids on several houses where drugs were known to be hidden, then checked the warehouse, where they discovered the tunnel.

At least 15 of these sophisticated border-crossing tunnels have been discovered since 2006, officials said.

Authorities have refused to link the latest tunnel to a specific cartel. Federal law requires US authorities to fill the US side of the tunnels with concrete after they are discovered.

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Last week, Border Patrol agents apprehended several sex offenders and gang members who crossed the border into the United States amid a border crisis that has overwhelmed border security.

The arrests included 15 illegal immigrants convicted or wanted for sex offenses and three members of the notoriously violent MS-13 gang.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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