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44 tons of marijuana seized in Tijuana: Huge dope haul destined for California

Forty-four tons of marijuana was seized in Tijuana, Mexico on Thursday, just across the border from San Diego, California. Mexico’s attorney general said that the Mexican military and Tijuana police conducted the raid that yielded the enormous drug haul, one of the largest to date. The biggest one-time marijuana confiscation in Mexico was in 2010, when just less than 150 tons of weed were seized.

Marijuana seized by Mexican police.
Marijuana seized by Mexican police.
Wikimedia Commons

According to a report May 3 from The Associated Press, as carried by the Wall Street Journal, approximately 4,000 packages weighing twenty-two to twenty-five pounds each were taken out of the Granjas Familiares del Matamoros neighborhood. However, the AP reports that no arrests were made by the Mexican government.

The Mexican drug cartels diligently continue to go underground to dig tunnels connecting Mexico to the United States. As soon as one tunnel is shut down, another surfaces. According to an article from GQ in January of this year, the economics of a successful drug tunnel are irrefutable. Despite the tunnels taking many months to build and costing hundreds of thousands, if not millions of dollars to construct, cartels can channel enough marijuana and other illegal drugs onto U.S. soil in just a few hours to offset the cost of the tunnel and build dozens more.

Some of the most sophisticated tunnels have been discovered in recent years by agents patrolling our borders to the south. These underground passageways are not what we might think. While we may picture a confined rabbit-like hole hand dug by shovels, the tunnels found by the U.S. Customs and Border Protection are highly complex. In October of last year, one such “super tunnel” was discovered connecting San Diego and Tijuana. The passage was the length of six football fields and was dug at a running depth of 35 feet. The four foot by three foot tunnel had reinforced walls, lighting, a ventilation system and even an electric rail system with miner carts.

U.S. Attorney Laura Duffy spoke last year of the discovery and shutdown of the super tunnel: “If you continue to build and attempt to use these tunnels, we are determined to make this a big waste of your dirty money,” Duffy said. “Not only will we take your drugs and shut down your tunnels before you even get an opportunity to use them, but we're now in a position where we're going after your management.”

Despite Duffy’s strong words, just last month U.S. federal agents uncovered two more drug-smuggling tunnels connecting Mexico and surfacing into San Diego warehouses, as seen in the video above. Both of those tunnels were also equipped with a sophisticated railway system for quickly moving hundreds of pounds of contraband.

“Here we are again, foiling cartel plans to sneak millions of dollars of illegal drugs through secret passageways that cost millions of dollars to build,” Duffy said in a statement. The three tunnels discovered over the past few months represent the sixth, seventh and eighth cross-border passageways discovered in the San Diego area in less than four years. According to an article on AOL, since 2006, “federal authorities have detected at least 80 cross-border smuggling tunnels, most of them in California and Arizona, and seized some 100 tons of narcotics associated with them.”