Authorities carried out a drug bust worth nearly $30 million from an underground tunnel at the U.S.-Mexico border.

Perhaps, drug dealers are inspired by the famous saying that “when the going gets tough, only the tough get going” as they seem to work harder and make tougher decisions when smuggling illegal drugs becomes difficult.

For drug dealers on the other side of “The Wall,” working harder means building a ventilated drug tunnel with underground rail system and lighting that extends more than 2,000 feet from a warehouse in Tijuana to a warehouse in the Otay Mesa neighborhood.

The tunnel was about three-feet wide through most of the passageway and was 31 feet deep.

As a result of the advanced construction of the passageway, including reinforced walls, agents believe the tunnel has existed for several months before its discovery.

The task force, which includes members of the Drug Enforcement Administration, U.S. Border Patrol, Homeland Security Investigations and the U.S. Attorney’s Office, in collaboration with the Secretaria de la Defensa Nacional and Fiscalia General de la Republica, located the tunnel’s entrance in Mexico.

The task force then obtained a federal search warrant for a warehouse in Otay Mesa, where the exit point in the United States was found On March 19.

John W. Callery, a Special Agent in Charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration, believes that this discovery shows the commitment and dedication of the task force to locate and shut down these drug trafficking tunnels.

He said:

“These tunnels show the determination of drug trafficking organizations to subvert our border controls and smuggle deadly drugs into our community. But these recent tunnel seizures also show the dedication of our amazing partners on the San Diego Tunnel Task Force to locate and shut down these tunnels to keep our communities safe.”

Illegal drugs With An Estimated Street Value Of $29.6 Million Were Uncovered Inside The Tunnel

New York Times reports that  Federal agents (the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration) on the San Diego Tunnel Task Force made the discovery and also seized roughly 1,300 pounds of cocaine, 17 pounds of heroin, 86 pounds of methamphetamine, more than two pounds of fentanyl and 3,000 pounds of marijuana.

The illegal drugs that were discovered in this tunnel, which include 1,300 pounds of cocaine, 3,000 pounds of marijuana, 86 pounds of methamphetamine, 17 pounds of heroin, and two pounds worth of fentanyl, had an estimated street value of $29.6 million.

The DEA reports that this is one of the largest hauls of illegal drugs found in a single tunnel in recent years.

“The large seizure of mixed drugs represents the first time in San Diego’s history, where five different types of drugs were found inside a tunnel.”

An investigation by San Diego’s Tunnel Task Force into a transnational criminal organization that was involved in drug-smuggling operations in Otay Mesa led to the discovery of the cross-border drug tunnel.

Although five different types of drugs were found inside the tunnel, no arrests were made during the operation.

Longest Smuggling Tunnel Found At U.S.-Mexico Border

A supervisory Border Patrol agent, Jeff Stephenson, said since 1993, more than 70 similar drug tunnels had been discovered around the San Diego area.

One of these discoveries happed in January 2020, when a drug tunnel stretching 4,309 feet and connecting Mexico to the U.S. was found.

That tunnel, which was located in the same area as this most recent discovery, was built 70 feet deep underground and was similarly well-constructed.

The 4,309 feet-long tunnel is nearly a mile, between the outskirts of San Diego and Tijuana, Mexico. It had rudimentary rails stretched along the ground, electricity cables, ventilation tubes that ran along the rough-hewed walls and an elevator.

In a statement, the acting special agent in charge of Homeland Security Investigations in San Diego, Cardell T. Morant, explained that the sophistication of this tunnel demonstrates the lengths that drug dealers are willing to go in order to advance their criminal activities.



He said:

“The sophistication and length of this particular tunnel demonstrate the time-consuming efforts transnational criminal organizations will undertake to facilitate cross-border smuggling.”

According to authorities, this was the longest drug tunnel ever discovered along the southwestern border of the U.S.

While speaking to journalists about the recent drug tunnel bust, Aaron M. Heitke, a chief Border Patrol agent, said cross-border tunnels are one of the most significant threats to our national security.

According to him, these criminal organizations can use tunnels to introduce anything they want into the U.S., especially now during the novel coronavirus global pandemic.

Although President Donald Trump said during a visit to Otay Mesa in September 2019 that the newly constructed barrier under his politically-driven border wall initiative would be impenetrable, it was, however, reported that the 2,000 foot-long tunnel that was recently discovered is not too far from his controversial border wall.

Experts have widely disputed the effectiveness of Trump’s border wall initiative as a solution to eradicate drug trafficking into the U.S.

As a result of a nationwide federal court injunction to prevent the Trump administration from accessing the nation’s emergency defense funds to complete the wall, construction of the border wall has been halted.

Reports suggest that these sophisticated drug tunnels are not the only means used by drug traffickers to smuggle illegal substances into the U.S. and other European countries.

The transatlantic “narcosubs” have also been used by drug traffickers to transport illegal substances between countries through the world’s vast oceans.

One such case was discovered In December 2019, when a narcosub suspected to have sailed from South America to Europe was uncovered by a drug sting, and $100 million worth of cocaine was found aboard the narcosub.

Experts believe that regardless of the route that drug traffickers take (underground tunnels or narcosubs), these elaborate smuggling techniques won’t be ending anytime soon.

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