CARTEL CROSS-BORDER DRUG TUNNEL DISCOVERED IN SAN DIEGO HAD $29 MILLION IN DRUGS
4,400 pounds of cocaine, marijuana, and fentanyl were found during the discovery of a drug tunnel in San Diego, all totaling a street value on $29 million.
Federal agents uncovered a sophisticated drug smuggling tunnel on Thursday, March 19, 2020 which extends under the United States-Mexico border to a warehouse in a commercial complex in the Otay Mesa area of San Diego. The discovery of the tunnel resulted from an ongoing investigation by federal authorities.
Agents on the San Diego Tunnel Task Force developed information about a transnational criminal organization suspected of smuggling narcotics into the U.S. via a cross-border tunnel. As the investigation progressed, agents worked to locate the tunnel entrance in Mexico. Agents subsequently presented evidence to a U.S. federal judge and obtained a federal search warrant for the warehouse in Otay Mesa, California.
The U.S. exit point was discovered subsequent to the execution of the warrant.
Agents seized approximately 1,300 pounds of cocaine, 86 pounds of methamphetamine, 17 pounds of heroin, 3,000 pounds of marijuana and more than two pounds of fentanyl from the tunnel. The total street value of the drugs seized from the tunnel is estimated at $29.6 million.
The tunnel extends for more than 2,000 feet underground from a warehouse in Tijuana, Mexico to a warehouse in the Otay Mesa area of San Diego. The tunnel has an average depth of 31 feet and is three-feet wide through most of the passageway.
Agents estimate the tunnel has been in existence for several months due to the advanced construction observed in several portions of the passageway, which included reinforced walls, ventilation, lighting and an underground rail system.
San Diego Acting Special Agent in Charge Cardell T. Morant says:
“I’m proud of the excellent work performed by Homeland Security Investigations agents, as well as U.S. Border Patrol and Drug Enforcement Administration agents as integrated partners of the San Diego Tunnel Task Force. Their tenacity made the difference in shutting down this tunnel. I hope this sends a clear message that despite the ongoing public health crisis, HSI and our law enforcement partners will remain resilient and continue to pursue criminal organizations responsible for the cross-border smuggling of narcotics into the United States.”