Authorities have found a sophisticated drug tunnel – complete with electricity, ventilation and a rail system – connecting San Diego to Tijuana.
The San Diego Tunnel Task Force, comprising officers from several agencies and headed by Immigration and Customs Enforcement, discovered the recently completed and “highly sophisticated” tunnel Wednesday night, The Los Angeles Times reported Thursday. An ICE spokesperson said three people have been arrested.
Details were sparse on Thursday and authorities sealed off the area as they combed through the tunnel for evidence. Eight tons of marijuana and 325 pounds of cocaine were seized as part of the investigation, but it was not clear if the drugs were actually found in the tunnel that links warehouses on both sides of the border.
U.S. officials were planning to hold a late afternoon news conference to update reporters on the discovery.
U-T San Diego reported that Mexican soldiers and Tijuana police could be seen guarding a row of two-story structures in an industrial area in Tijuana. The tunnel apparently led from one of the structures, which the U-T placed at west of the Otay Mesa Port of Entry and east of the Tijuana airport. A spokesman for Mexico’s Attorney General's Office told the paper that the agency was seeking a federal judge’s authorization to search the premises.
More than 75 tunnels have been discovered between the eighth largest city in the United States and the largest city in Mexico’s Baja California peninsula. Both cities have populations of more than 1.3 million and authorities in both cities have long fought sophisticated networks of drug trafficking.
The tunnel found Wednesday was not the first with a rail line. On Thanksgiving Day in 2010, authorities discovered a passageway more than seven football fields long that was equipped with rail tracks extending from beneath the kitchen of a Tijuana home to a pair of San Diego warehouses. About 22 tons of marijuana was seized.
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