Mexico catches drug tunnel diggers red handed

View of a tunnel found by soldiers of the Mexican army in the border city of Tijuana and apparently used to smuggle drugs into the United States on April 7, 2015 (AFP Photo/Said Betanzos)

Tijuana (Mexico) (AFP) - Nine people in Mexico were caught red handed digging a tunnel that was apparently to be used to sneak drugs into California, officials said.

The detainees had been digging from inside a house in the northwest border town of Tijuana and tried in vain to flee, the National Defense secretariat said.

The tunnel was about 20 meters (66 feet) underground and reachable by climbing down a ladder through a closet in the house.

Army troops also seized a truck that the detainees had been using to take away soil from the digging operations.

Mexican drug traffickers use a variety of techniques to try to smuggle drugs into the United States, from undocumented migrants carrying it in backpacks to catapults to sophisticated tunnels.

On January 22, a US-bound drone carrying three kilos of an unspecified drug crashed at a shopping center in Tijuana.