SAN DIEGO, Oct. 23 (UPI) — The discovery of a 2,600 foot-long tunnel under the U.S.-Mexico border led to arrest of 22 people and confiscation of 12 tons of marijuana, officials said.
The tunnel, 32 feet beneath the ground, linked warehouses in Otay Mesa, Calif., near San Diego, and Tijuana, Mexico, and had a ventilation system, lighting and small freight carts traveling on a rail.
The arrests came late Wednesday after a raid by Mexican authorities.
Isaias Enriquez-Acosta, 53, and Isidro Silva-Acosta, 27, were arrested in the United States and charged Thursday with unlawful conspiracy to import a controlled substance and conspiracy to use border tunnels and passages. Prosecutors said the raid was initiated after a U.S. Tunnel Task Force agent, who previously was involved in helping transport dirt from the San Diego warehouse, met with the two men to discuss the imminent delivery of marijuana through the tunnel.
The arrests ended a six-month investigation. Mexican agents observed “intense movement” of trucks entering and leaving the Tijuana warehouse, the country’s Interior Ministry said in a statement.
U.S. officials said the arrests coincided with the first use of the tunnel to move a large quantity of drugs.
“We see a super tunnel open for business once every year or so. Just when they think they’re ready to move, we put it out of business,” Laura Duffy of the U.S. Attorney’s Office said.