Federal agents nabbed a Mexican man just before he was to fly back home this week, and charged him with smuggling drugs through a 2,000-foot cross-border tunnel discovered last month running between Tijuana and San Diego.
The bust of the tunnel made headlines, and Thursday’s arrest gives prosecutors a scalp to go along with shutting down the smuggling route.
Rogelio Flores Guzman was arrested at Los Angeles International Airport as he was boarding a plane to Guadalajara. He’s been ordered held without bond after the government told a judge he was a flight risk.
Agents discovered the U.S. exit point of the tunnel on March 20. It was concealed within a warehouse along the border in San Diego.
According to court documents, agents had been tracking Mr. Flores Guzman dating back to May 2019, and saw him regularly come and go from the warehouse, including on March 18, just before the tunnel was uncovered.
That time they caught him driving a truck away from the warehouse. The truck had 10 illegal immigrants from Mexico in it, according to court documents. Mr. Flores Guzman was released at that time, but agents picked him up again just before he tried to board the plane.
He admitted to having helped build the tunnel and taken drug loads through it 10 to 20 times, according to Edward Wyner, a special agent for Homeland Security Investigations.
When agents busted the tunnel, they found 575 packages of drugs with a street value estimated at nearly $30 million.