(Headline USA) U.S. immigration officials discovered a massive underground tunnel beneath the southern border that cartels were using to smuggle drugs into the country.
The nearly 1,800-foot tunnel began at a home in Tijuana, Mexico, and traveled across the border to a warehouse in Otay Mesa, California, according to the Justice Department. The tunnel was 61 feet deep, 4 feet in diameter with reinforced walls, and included a rail system, electricity and ventilation.
“There is no more light at the end of this narco-tunnel,” U.S. Attorney Randy Grossman said in a Monday press statement.
“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 DOJ said law enforcement officers discovered the tunnel after conducting surveillance on a home in National City that had been previously used as a drug stash house. Two people from the drug stash house unknowingly led them to the warehouse, where at least five other cars came and went.
Authorities then seized 1,762 pounds of cocaine, 164 pounds of methamphetamine, and 3.5 pounds of heroin from the warehouse. The drugs were valued at $25 million, according to Department of Homeland Security special agent Juan Munoz.
Officials also arrested six alleged drug traffickers, including the two individuals who had been present at the drug stash house. If convicted, they face life behind bars and millions of dollars in fines.
This tunnel is one of 90 subterranean drug smuggling passages that authorities have found in southern California since 1993. Of those, 27 were considered “sophisticated” by authorities.
In 2020, authorities found another cross-border tunnel based in Tijuana, Mexico, that spanned nearly 4,309 feet into the U.S. It is the longest tunnel discovered on record.
“While subterranean tunnels are not a new occurrence along the California-Mexico border, the sophistication and length of this particular tunnel demonstrates the time-consuming efforts transnational criminal organizations will undertake to facilitate cross-border smuggling,” Cardell Morant, acting special agent in charge of Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations, said at the time.