A drug tunnel found connecting San Diego, Ariz. and Tijuana, Mexico this week revealed 325 pounds of crack cocaine and over 17,000 pounds of marijuana – a drug haul worth $12 million that would have made its way to U.S. streets. CBS News on Thursday said the discovery of the sophisticated “super tunnel” also brought the arrest of three suspected drug runners for a Mexican organized crime cartel.
The tunnel, equal in length to six football fields, was far more complicated than typical dirt tunnels found connecting the U.S. and Mexico. Built by engineers and architects, the four by three Tijuana tunnel contained railways, push carts, a ventilation system and hydraulic steel doors. It was built at a depth of 35 feet.
Officials called it the 8th largest tunnel found connecting the two countries since 2006.
U.S. Attorney Laura Duffy had strong words for Mexican drug lords.
“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.”
Speaking of similar tunnels discovered two years ago, Duffy said the U.S. will continue to seek out and shut down all modes of drug traffic to the states.
“It was just two years ago, November 2011, that we discovered and shut down two elaborate super tunnels like the one here today,” the U.S. Attorney said. “And at the time we did so, we stood before you and we warned the cartels directly. If you build them, we're going find them, and if we find them, we're going to destroy them. Today, we again make good on that promise.
“The cartels have spent years and tens of millions of dollars trying in vain to create an underworld of secret passageways to move huge quantities of drugs at will,” Duffy continued. “We have a message for the builders, financiers and operators of these sophisticated tunnels: if you continue to go underground, you will find your world collapsing around you.”
An informant tipped off Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents, who shut down the tunnel Wednesday night. Officials said the tunnel was discovered before it could be used to transport any drugs.
CBS News reports that as U.S. border security has increased on land, “Mexican drug cartels have turned to ultra light aircraft, small fishing boats and tunnels. More than 75 underground passages have been discovered along the border since 2008, designed largely to smuggle marijuana.”