A huge cartel tunnel used by drug smugglers that runs under the US-Mexican border has been unearthed – complete with a railway line and a ventilation system.
US authorities made the discovery of the sophisticated tunnel – which runs from Tijuana, south of the border, to San Diego – in an area where more than a dozen other tunnels have been found over the past 20 years, reports Mail Online.
The 1,744 feet long and 61 feet deep structure was found near San Diego’s Otay Mesa border.
It’s not known how long the tunnel – which was fully electrified and had reinforced walls – had been operating for.
Agents had been conducting surveillance on a known drugs house in downtown San Diego, and when they began to search vehicles that had been there and at a warehouse near the border, they found several consignments of drugs.
About 800kg of cocaine, 75kg of meth and 1.6 kg of heroin was seized and six Californians – aged 31 to 55 – have been charged. They have pleaded not guilty.
It was that breakthrough that led to the search of the warehouse.
What makes the existence of the tunnel even more remarkable is that it runs under one of the most fortified parts of the United States-Mexico border.
Former US president Donald Trump made the building of the southern border wall one of his main policies, but the discovery of the tunnel – which runs for about a third of a mile and is the equivalent of six storeys underground – shows the determination of the drugs gangs to keep their supply lines going.
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“Upon searching the warehouse, agents uncovered a sophisticated border tunnel exit point carved out on cement floor,” said US attorney Randy Grossman.
“We allege our defendants were driving into the garage and loading and dropping off cardboard boxes full of drugs to further the movement and distribution of drugs into the United States.”
Authorities have previously linked such tunnels with Mexico’s brutal Sinaloa cartel.
However, they have so far not publicly attributed the latest find to any specific criminal gang.