Otay Mesa drug tunnel hidden in warehouse
U.S. law enforcement officers uncovered a sophisticated, cross-border drug smuggling tunnel between the United States and Mexico, resulting in the seizure of more than 30 tons of marijuana, the Drug Enforcement Agency said Wednesday.
The tunnel, which was equipped with rail, lighting and ventilation systems, connected warehouses in Otay Mesa, Calif., and Tijuana, Mexico.
San Diego Tunnel Task Force agents conducting surveillance in the area stopped a tractor-trailer that left the warehouse and found 10 tons of marijuana packed in large boxes. The truck driver and a passenger were arrested.
After obtaining a search warrant, agents raided the building and discovered an estimated 15 tons of the drug and the tunnel.
Agents alerted Mexican military personnel who quickly located the tunnel's other entrance at a warehouse in Tijuana and recovered another four tons of marijuana. The estimated street value of the drug haul is about $20 million, the DEA said.
The Tunnel Task Force includes officers from Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Customs and Border Protection and the California Bureau of Narcotics Enforcement.
Drug tunnels have been frequently used by drug cartels in recent years to move their illegal product without detection by law enforcement authorities.