1,800-Feet-Long Drug Smuggling Tunnel Found Beneath Us-Mexico Border

The tunnel runs from Tijuana, Mexico, to Otay Mesa, California.

QUICK FACTS:
  • Officials found a tunnel from Mexico into the United States 1,744 feet long, 61 feet deep, and 4 feet in diameter that was being used to smuggle drugs.
  • The tunnel, discovered on Friday runs from Tijuana, Mexico, to Otay Mesa, California, and featured reinforced walls, a rail system, electricity, and ventilation.
  • “There is no more light at the end of this narco-tunnel,” U.S. Attorney Randy Grossman said in a Monday press statement. “We will take down every subterranean smuggling route we find to keep illicit drugs from reaching our streets and destroying our families and communities.”
MORE ABOUT THE DISCOVERY OF THE TUNNELS:
  • Law enforcement was conducting surveillance on a home in National City that was used to hold drugs for smuggling, according to the Department of Justice, when officials observed coming and going from a nearby warehouse.
  • “The tunnel was discovered just after midnight on Friday by U.S. law enforcement officials from Homeland Security Investigations who were conducting surveillance on a National City residence that was previously used as a stash house in a cocaine smuggling event on March 2. That event had resulted in the arrest of one person and the seizure of 28 kilograms of cocaine,” the Justice Department’s press release said
  • “According to the federal complaint, at about 11:45 a.m., officials observed as Olmos and Ramirez drove away from that National City residence in a silver Nissan Frontier pickup truck to Harbor Freight Tools store in Chula Vista, where they retrieved large cardboard boxes from a dumpster and put them into the pickup truck,” the release went on to say.
  • “The San Diego law enforcement community has multiple investigative task forces that highly prioritize tunnel detection- exemplified by this tunnel discovery by the Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) San Diego led Costa Pacifico Money Laundering Task Force,” said HSI San Diego Special Agent in Charge Chad Plantz. “The San Diego law enforcement community throughout the years has consistently shown its ability to detect and remediate tunnels while bringing those responsible to justice.”
BACKGROUND:
  • Since 1993, there have been 90 subterranean passages discovered in the Southern District of California, according to the DOJ.
  • Of those tunnels, 27 have been considered “sophisticated,” the most recent of which before Friday’s discovery was March 2020.
  • The discovery was a result of an investigation with the cooperation of the San Diego Costa Pacifico Money Laundering Task Force, including Homeland Security Investigations, San Diego Sheriff’s Department, Drug Enforcement Administration, Customs and Border Protection, and the United States Attorney’s Office.