Mexico finds drug tunnel

The tunnel is 755-feet long and is the latest in more than 75 others busted over the years

Published July 11, 2012 1:54PM (EDT)

Family members of community leader Calisto Perez Mena react as they arrive near the place where he was killed in San Isidro, on the outskirts of Ciudad Juarez, Mexico. (AP Photo/Alexandre Meneghini)
Family members of community leader Calisto Perez Mena react as they arrive near the place where he was killed in San Isidro, on the outskirts of Ciudad Juarez, Mexico. (AP Photo/Alexandre Meneghini)

This article originally appeared on GlobalPost.

Mexico’s army stumbled upon another secret tunnel for smuggling drugs into the United States, according to wire reports.

Global Post

This one is 755-feet long, dug 60 feet beneath the ground and runs across the Sonora-Arizona border. That pales in comparison with the 2,000-footers found in past years.

But what it lacks in length it appears to make up for in sophistication: “It had electricity, ventilation and small cars to transport the drugs through the tunnel,” The Associated Press reported, citing a Mexican general. AP said officials did not indicate which drug cartel the tunnel belonged to.

The find comes on the heels of the Mexican election. Enrique Peña Nieto, the presumptive president-elect, of the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), has suggested Mexico may shift its drug-war policy but has offered little in the way of specifics. Would that mean no more drug tunnel discoveries?

Drug tunnels are some of the sweetest candy for fantasizing about the narcotics trade. They're portals that ultimately link American drug users up with cartels that rule swaths of the Americas.

One such ruler, Chapo Guzman, whom the US Treasury Department has deemed the “world’s most powerful drug trafficker,” is known to have commissioned a few of these tunnels. New Yorker magazine’s William Finnegan writes:

“The story was that he built his tunnels with slave labor and, in the interests of secrecy, killed the workers when they were finished.”

Late last year, ABC News reported authorities had discovered as many as 75 drug tunnels linking Mexico and the United States.

Drug tunnels — recent hits

1. February 2012: A 110-foot tunnel was discovered next to a private parking lot in Nogales, Arizona. The underground pathway stretched to the Mexican side of the border and ended in a home's front yard. Amazingly, the tunnel was only two feet long by two feet wide and lacked ventilation, electrical equipment, and sufficient wood to prevent a future collapse. 550 pounds of marijuana were retrieved during the raid.

2. November 2011: US Immigration and Customs Officials discovered a massive drug tunnel between San Diego and Tijuana that measured over six-football-fields long and included a secret elevator, hydraulic doors, lighting, ventilation, and rail cars. The bust netted some 32 tons of marijuana.

3. November 2010: Over 40 tons of cannabis was confiscated after investigators from the San Diego Task Force uncovered two drug tunnels with similar routes between Tijuana and Otay Mesa, California. These tunnels were supposedly the work of Mexico’s Sinaloa cartel. One of them measured over 2,200 feet.

4. April 2006: Take a tour of this cavernous drug tunnel that was discovered near Tijuana’s airport. About five-feet wide by six-feet tall, this tunnel ran more than 800 yards to a warehouse in San Diego. Equipped with a pulley system to facilitate the transport of drug packs, authorities noted that the tunnel was also large enough for human transport.

5. January 2006: In what was one of the biggest drug-smuggling discoveries to date, DEA and ICE agents uncovered a 1,200-yard long tunnel near the San Ysidro port of California. With pumps to remove underground water, Mexican drug cartels were able to effectively smuggle tons and tons of marijuana into the US. A mix of human intelligence and ground-penetrating radar technology helped locate the massive passageway.

Brennan Murray contributed to this post.

By Alex Leff


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