Nearly $30 million worth of drugs were seized after federal authorities discovered a “sophisticated drug-smuggling tunnel” that connected an Otay Mesa warehouse to a warehouse in Tijuana earlier this month.
Federal officials said in a statement on Tuesday that the tunnel was discovered on March 19 as a result of an ongoing investigation by the San Diego Tunnel Task Force (SDTTF).
Agents believe the tunnel had existed for months because of its sophisticated features in some of its portions, such as an underground rail system, ventilation, lighting and reinforced walls.
Photos: Nearly $30 Million Worth of Drugs Seized From ‘Sophisticated’ Tunnel That Connects Otay Mesa, Tijuana Warehouses
The tunnel had an average depth of 31 feet and is three feet
wide throughout most of the passageway, officials said. It extends for more
than 2,000 feet between the two warehouses.
During the investigation, agents seized 3,000 pounds of marijuana, 1,300 pounds of cocaine, 86 pounds of methamphetamine, 17 pounds of heroin and more than two pounds of fentanyl, all estimated to be worth about $29.6 million.
U.S. authorities said they alerted Mexican counterparts about their investigation for help locating the entry point in Tijuana and later executed a search warrant in San Diego’s Otay Mesa industrial warehouse district.
The investigation was made in effort by the SDTTF, U.S.
Border Patrol, Homeland Security Investigations, the Drug Enforcement Administration
and U.S. Attorney’s office, as well as in cooperation with the Fiscalia General
de la Republica (FGR) and Secretaria de la Defensa Nacional (SEDENA).
Another, Longer Tunnel
In January, authorities announced the discovery of a different tunnel — the longest smuggling tunnel ever found on the U.S.-Mexico border. It stretched more than three-quarters of a mile from a small industrial building in Tijuana into San Diego.
The tunnel had an extensive rail-cart system, forced air ventilation, high voltage electrical cables and panels, an elevator at the tunnel entrance, and a complex drainage system.
There were no arrests, drug seizures or a confirmed exit point in the U.S. in that discovery. But the length — more than 14 football fields — stunned authorities. It went under several warehouses in San Diego.
NBC 7’s Gaby Rodriguez is in Otay Mesa where authorities say the tunnel is 70 feet below the surface.
Anyone who wishes to make an anonymous report on suspected tunnels can contact the Tunnel Task Force at 1-877-988-6635.
The Associated Press contributed.