- The Washington Times - Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Federal agents discovered and shut down a “sophisticated” smuggling tunnel between the U.S. and Mexico, officials announced Tuesday, and seized what one prosecutor called “a jaw-dropping” $30 million in drugs.

The tunnel runs more than 2,000 feet underground from a warehouse in Tijuana, Mexico, to a warehouse in Otay Mesa, California.

It had reinforced walls, a ventilation system and an underground rail system, which is used to speed the drugs along the passage.

When agents moved in to bust the tunnel on March 19, they seized 1,300 pounds of cocaine, 86 pounds of methamphetamine, 17 pounds of heroin, 3,000 pounds of marijuana and 2 pounds of fentanyl. The drugs have a combined street value of $29.6 million.

Officials said it’s the first time all five types of drugs have been snared inside a tunnel in the San Diego area.

Agents have announced several major tunnel busts this year, saying it’s proof that border security efforts are forcing the smuggling cartels to engage in more extreme and expensive measures.

“If cartels keep spending millions of dollars building tunnels, we will keep finding and filling them,” said U.S. Attorney Robert Brewer. “This time, we seized a jaw-dropping $30 million worth of dangerous drugs that aren’t going to reach the streets. This is the most valuable single-day tunnel seizure in recent memory, and it is the largest seizure of multiple drugs in a single tunnel.”

After the tunnel was discovered, Mexican officials were called in to help determine the entry point on their side of the border.

The Drug Enforcement Administration said the multi-agency San Diego Tunnel Task Force developed information that indicated a cartel was using a tunnel to smuggle drugs into the U.S.

Mexican officials determined the entry point on their side of the border, and U.S. agents then went to a federal judge to get a search warrant. They they figured out the U.S. exit point to the tunnel.

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