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Agents uncover drug tunnel running from San Diego to Tijuana in Mexico; 6 arrested

By Ashley Williams
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Agents uncover drug tunnel running from San Diego to Tijuana in Mexico; 6 arrested
The tunnel, which is about 60 feet below the surface, was designed to transport large amounts of drugs and included sophisticated features like a ventilation system and rails. Photo courtesy U.S. Justice Department/Homeland Security Investigations

May 17 (UPI) -- Federal authorities say they have uncovered a long and sophisticated tunnel that runs from Southern California to Mexico and was built to send large amounts of drugs past border guards.

Officials announced the discovery of the complex trafficking tunnel on Monday, which runs about 600 yards between San Diego and Tijuana, Mexico. Several people were arrested in connection with the tunnel, all of them residents of Southern California, investigators said.

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The tunnel, which is about 60 feet below the surface, was designed to transport large amounts of drugs and included sophisticated features like a ventilation system and rails.

Authorities found the tunnel last Friday near San Diego's Otay Mesa border crossing -- an area where a number of similar tunnels have been found over the past 20 years.

As part of the discovery, agents said they seized roughly 1,800 pounds of cocaine, 164 pounds of methamphetamine and more than 3 pounds of heroin. Six people were arrested and charged with trafficking.

Federal agents have discovered drug trafficking tunnels near the U.S.-Mexico border for decades. This one was found beneath a vacant fast food restaurant in San Luis, Ariz., in 2018. Photo courtesy Homeland Security Investigations/Yuma Border Patrol/UPI
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The suspects range in age from 31 to 55. If convicted, they could all be sentenced to life in prison.

"There is no more light at the end of this narco-tunnel," U.S. Attorney Randy Grossman said in a 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."

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Authorities said they aren't sure how long the tunnel has been in operation or how many shipments it made before it was uncovered.

The border crossing between San Diego and Tijuana is one of the busiest along the U.S.-Mexico border and agents regularly discover attempts to traffic drugs into the United States.

Border agents found a different tunnel in the same area in 2020 -- along with $30 million worth of drugs -- and one that spanned a half-mile was found a few years earlier.

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