Officials Discover Cross-Border Drug Tunnel

A sophisticated, fully operational, cross-border tunnel was discovered early Friday in a warehouse. The discovery lead to six arrests and approximately 1,762 pounds of cocaine seized.

Federal officials say that the tunnel stretches from a residence in Tijuana, Mexico, to a warehouse in San Diego.

The warehouse is located approximately 300 feet north of the U.S.-Mexico border, just east of the Otay Mesa Port of Entry. The warehouse has a “for lease” signs posted outside of the building.

Photo Credit: AP Photo/Elliot Spagat

“It’s estimated to be about 1,744 feet long, 61 feet deep, with a diameter of about 4 feet at its widest point,” said Randy Grossman, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of California. “It has reinforced walls, a rail system, and electricity for ventilation.”

Law enforcement officials with the Homeland Security Investigations (HIS) were surveilling a residence in National City before the discovery of the tunnel was made. The residence under surveillance was as a stash house in a cocaine smuggling incident back in March. In this investigation, one person was arrested and approximately 61 pounds of cocaine were seized.

“In a span of a few hours, agents watched five vehicles come and go from the stash house and this warehouse, we allege that the defendants were driving into the garage and loading or dropping off cardboard boxes full of drugs to further the movement or distribution of drugs throughout the United States, the federal agents were watching the whole time,” said Grossman.

Authorities initiated a search of the stash house, vehicles, and the warehouse, resulting in the arrests and seizure of boxes of drugs.

“Today, we charged six people with conspiracy to distribute more than 1,750 pounds of cocaine smuggled into the United States, two of the six defendants were also charged with trafficking methamphetamine and heroin,” said Grossman.

The six arrested were identified as:
Mario Jaramillo from Huntington Beach
Adrian Enriquez from Perris
Manuel Perez from San Diego
Juan Cruz from San Ysidro
Vanessa Ramirez from San Diego
Luz de Luna Olmos from San Diego.

Officials are not say able to say how long the tunnel has existed or whether if warehouse was used for anything else.

Since 1993, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office, 90 subterranean passages have been discovered in the Southern District of California, with 27 considered to be “sophisticated”.

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