Informador says San Diego Authorities confirmed today that the tunnel located Wednesday night in a warehouse in Tijuana with drugs worth about $ 12 million, belongs to the Sinaloa Cartel. The Office Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) reported that during the operation of finding the narcotúnel, they found more than eight tons of marijuana , as well as 147 kilograms of cocaine. Three people so far were taken into custody.
Mexican security officials stood guard Thursday outside a factory in Tijuana where the tunnel’s starting point was discovered.
The tunnel, which was shut down Wednesday night after several weeks of surveillance, took about a year to build, the authorities said. Three people were taken into custody on Thursday, and federal agents seized eight tons of marijuana and 325 pounds of cocaine they said was connected to the investigation.
As security at the border — both at the ports of entry and between them — has heightened in recent years, drug cartels have increasingly sought other avenues, including tunnels, maritime smuggling and ultralight aircraft, to move drugs into the United States. This was the fifth large-scale drug smuggling tunnel discovered in the San Diego area since 2010, the authorities said, and the eighth since 2006, when the Sinaloa drug cartel took firm control of the smuggling corridor along this section of the border.
“These cartels have spent years and tens of millions of dollars trying to create a secret underworld of passages so they can move large quantities of drugs,” said Laura Duffy, the United States attorney for the San Diego region.
Derek Benner, special agent in charge for Homeland Security Department investigations in San Diego, said sophisticated tunnels like the one found here — which required not only laborers to build but also architects and engineers, and could cost upwards of $1 million to construct — were an investment only a well-financed cartel could afford to make.
He said the tunnel — like the two most recent “supertunnels” in the region, which were discovered in late 2011 — was shut down before any narcotics reached the market in the United States, which he called a major blow to the cartel.
“This serves as yet another warning to these organizations that mistakenly believe that tunnels will be their ticket to success,” Mr. Benner said.
It was the first time cocaine had been seized in connection with a tunnel operation, the authorities said.
“They’re desperate,” said William R. Sherman, special agent in charge for the Drug Enforcement Administration in San Diego. “We’re starting to see them try to move cocaine through these tunnels, which we’ve never seen before. We’re seeing them try to move cocaine through ultra-lights into the desert, which we’ve never seen before. And those are simply acts of desperation.”
Tunnels have also been found around the Nogales area in Arizona, where cartels make use of underground drainage canals.
But the San Diego-Tijuana corridor has remained popular for tunnel construction because the clay-like soil is easy to dig and less susceptible to cave-ins, Mr. Benner said. In addition, the warehouse districts on both sides of the border offer cover for the drug smuggling operations.
The tunnel discovered on Wednesday was about four feet high and three feet wide, the authorities said, and zigzagged on its way across the border at about 35 feet underground, likely because the builders veered off course several times during construction.
The authorities insisted that no drug smuggling tunnels in the San Diego area were currently in operation.
“We have the border underground fairly well monitored,” Mr. Sherman said. “If you’re building a tunnel, we know about it. This is the third once since 2011. We’ve found them all before they could successfully get any drugs into the United States.”
Last Night's Version
Tijuana Municipal Police and Mexican Army discovered a new functioning drug tunnel on the border of Tijuana and San Diego. Apparently tons of drugs were found inside, according to official sources. At the moment, the operation, headed by Secretary of Public Safety of Tijuana, Jesus Alberto Capela Ibarra, and military leaders, indicate the location has been secured and they are in the process of determining the amount of drugs on site. According to the consulted sources by Efe, there could be 10 tons of drugs inside..
This new tunnel is near the Tijuana International Airport and was found in a warehouse. It has rails for moving drugs on carts. The hole in about one square meter in diameter with a metal ladder to get to the interior. The new tunnel is located just a few meters from the location where the first tunnel was discovered going between Tijuana and SanDiego in 1992. No new data yet. We'll update with more information as it becomes available.
The "narcotunel" discovered by the American authorities that at dusk yesterday whoreported to their Mexican counterparts and the intervening elements of the Army and the municipal police seizure of more than three tons of marijuana.
The passage was located on Mar Bermejo Street, Garita de Otay neighborhood, about 90 meters away from the border fence that separates Mexico from the he United States.
San Diego's Otay Mesa is an area of nondescript warehouses on both sides and it is not easy to conceal trucks being loaded with drugs
Unofficially it is small mining set up with a just over 1 meter sized hole as an entrance at ground level where a metal staircase that descends to about six feet deep down to a concrete where there are rails for running a mining cart to the line which about 150 meters and ends in an office in the neighboring country.
The passage was recently completed, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement said in a brief statement Wednesday night. A spokeswoman, Lauren Mack, declined to elaborate but said more details would be released Thursday.
Mexican news organizations published photos that show a deep, well-built tunnel near Tijuana's main airport. Alberto Capella, Tijuana's public safety chief, said Wednesday night that a law enforcement operation was underway and he couldn't provide details.
They found it curious that there was no pulley or winch system into aid with pulling the drugs up through the hole, and there's no cladding as they've witnessed in other narco tunnels.
The US were investigating an area around an office complex for about a week trying to intercept a shipment of pot.
The tunnel is the eighth major passage discovered in San Diego since 2006, a period during which Mexico's Sinaloa cartel has solidified its hold on the prized smuggling corridor.
In November 2011, authorities found a 600-yard tunnel that resulted in seizures of 32 tons of marijuana on both sides of the border, with 26 tons found on the U.S. side accounting for one of the largest pot busts in U.S. history. The tunnel was equipped with electric rail cars, lighting and ventilation. Wooden planks lined the floor.
On Thanksgiving Day of 2010, authorities found a roughly 700-yard passage equipped with rail tracks that extended from the kitchen of a Tijuana home to two San Diego warehouses, netting about 22 tons of marijuana on both sides of the border.
Source: Informador, oem, latinfoxnews, policiaca, NYtimes, informador
Thursday, October 31, 2013
Tijuana "narcotunnel" discovered 8 tons of pot, 147 Kilos of Cocaine
I'm an artist who devotes as much spare time as possible to studying the complexities of the drug war facing Mexico and the USA. It is essential to spread the word about the plight of Mexico, so I frequently post on Borderland Beat. It's true that there are many others devoted to the cause. But more people should care because such suffering should never go unnoticed and ignored. Allowing that to happen is perhaps the biggest crime of all. Feel free to email me. Adios HavanaPura@Gmail.com