Marijuana Tunnel in San Diego
The operation leading to this record bust started only 12 hours before. The US authorities already had the warehouse under surveillance and, on Thursday night, they saw a tractor-trailer leaving the building. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents alerted the California Highway Patrol, who pulled the truck over some 60 miles away, near Temecula. While searching the truck, the agents found 10 tons of marijuana and arrested the driver, an US citizen, and his Mexican wife, taking them back to San Diego.
The agents asked for a federal warrant and searched the warehouse, where they had the surprise to discover 10 to 15 tons of pot, as well as the opening to the tunnel, which ran 20 feet underground. According to some estimations the tunnel was some 1,800 feet long, more than six footbal fields, and ended up at a warehouse in Mexico. Even more, it was one of the most sophisticated ever built, as it had lightning, ventilation and a rail system for transporting illegal drugs, but authorities believe that is has been used ony for a short period. The tunnel was 4 feet high and 3 feet wide, not enough for a man to stand up, so the smugglers most probably crawled through it.
The capture made on Thursday is the largest in Californiaʼs history and the second-largest in the United States, after the 33 tons bust made in Oregon two years ago. The capture comes only weeks after the Mexican authorities seized other 134 tons of marijuana, the biggest ever, belonging to the Sinaloa cartel. Officials did not establish yet to which drug cartel Thursdayʼs bust belongs to.
In the last 20 years United States authorities discovered over 125 underground tunnels running along the border with Mexico, most of them used for transporting drugs in the US. And almost half of them were discovered in the last four years, but many were not yet finished.11