Another US-Mexico border tunnel has been discovered – with nearly $30 million worth of drugs, officials say

N'dea Yancey-Bragg, USA TODAY
Federal agents on the San Diego Tunnel Task Force uncovered a sophisticated drug smuggling tunnel on Thursday, March 19.

Federal agents seized nearly $30 million worth of illegal drugs from a smuggling tunnel that runs about a half-mile from San Diego to Tijuana, Mexico.  

Officials found 1,300 pounds of cocaine, 86 pounds of methamphetamine, 17 pounds of heroin, 3,000 pounds of marijuana and more than 2 pounds of fentanyl, according to a statement from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

Agents estimate the tunnel, which is 2,000 feet with an average depth of 31 feet, has existed for several months. Several parts of the passageway had reinforced walls, ventilation, lighting and an underground rail system.

“These tunnels show the determination of drug trafficking organizations to subvert our border controls and smuggle deadly drugs into our community," said DEA Special Agent in Charge John W. Callery in the statement. "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."

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Federal agents seized about 1,300 pounds of cocaine, 86 pounds of methamphetamine, 17 pounds of heroin, 3,000 pounds of marijuana and more than 2 pounds of fentanyl from a tunnel discovered under the U.S.-Mexico border.

The tunnel was uncovered March 19 following the task force's investigation into a transnational criminal organization. The tunnel entrance in a warehouse in Mexico was discovered first and agents subsequently obtained a federal search warrant for the warehouse in Otay Mesa, California, where the U.S. exit point was found. 

The tunnel was uncovered just over two months after the longest illicit cross-border tunnel ever seen was found in the same area along the southwestern border.

U.S. Attorney Robert Brewer said ithis was the most valuable single-day tunnel seizure in recent memory and the largest seizure of multiple drugs in one tunnel.

“If cartels keep spending millions of dollars building tunnels, we will keep finding and filling them,” Brewer said in a news release. “This time, we seized a jaw-dropping $30 million worth of dangerous drugs that aren’t going to reach the streets."

There were no arrests, which authorities said was part of an ongoing investigation involving U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, U.S. Border Patrol, the Drug Enforcement Administration and the United States Attorney’s Office.

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This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: US-Mexico border tunnel: DEA seizes $30 million worth of drugs