Wednesday, April 1, 2020

San Diego Tunnel Task Force uncovers sophisticated cross-border drug tunnel under the US/Mexico border

Chivis Martinez Borderland Beat  TY GUS  ICE

Feds seize 4,400 pounds of illicit drugs from the tunnel's exit in the US


SAN DIEGO – Federal agents on the San Diego Tunnel Task Force uncovered a sophisticated drug smuggling tunnel on Thursday, March 19, which extends under the United States-Mexico border to a warehouse in a commercial complex in the Otay Mesa area of San Diego. The discovery of the tunnel resulted from an ongoing investigation by members on the San Diego Tunnel Task Force, which include U.S. Immigration and customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations, U.S. Border Patrol, the Drug Enforcement Administration and the United States Attorney’s Office.

Agents on the San Diego Tunnel Task Force developed information about a transnational criminal organization suspected of smuggling narcotics into the U.S. via a cross-border tunnel. As the investigation progressed, agents worked in cooperation with the Fiscalia General de la Republica (FGR) and Secretaria de la Defensa Nacional (SEDENA) to locate the tunnel entrance in Mexico. Agents subsequently presented evidence to a U.S. federal judge and obtained a federal search warrant for the warehouse in Otay Mesa. The U.S. exit point was discovered subsequent to the execution of the warrant.



Agents seized approximately 1,300 pounds of cocaine, 86 pounds of methamphetamine, 17 pounds of heroin, 3,000 pounds of marijuana and more than two pounds of fentanyl from the tunnel. The large seizure of mixed drugs represents the first time in San Diego’s history where five different types of drugs were found inside a tunnel. The total street value of the drugs seized from the tunnel is estimated at $29.6 million.

The tunnel extends for more than 2,000 feet underground from a warehouse in Tijuana, Mexico to a warehouse in the Otay Mesa area of San Diego. The tunnel has an average depth of 31 feet and is three-feet wide through most of the passageway.

Agents estimate the tunnel has been in existence for several months due to the advanced construction observed in several portions of the passageway, which included reinforced walls, ventilation, lighting and an underground rail system.

“I’m proud of the excellent work performed by Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) agents, as well as U.S. Border Patrol and Drug Enforcement Administration agents as integrated partners of the San Diego Tunnel Task Force. Their tenacity made the difference in shutting down this tunnel,” said Cardell T. Morant, acting special agent in charge of HSI San Diego. “I hope this sends a clear message that despite the ongoing public health crisis, HSI and our law enforcement partners will remain resilient and continue to pursue criminal organizations responsible for the cross-border smuggling of narcotics into the United States.”

“Several months ago, agents on the San Diego Tunnel Task Force announced the seizure of the longest cross-border tunnel and today we announce the discovery of another sophisticated tunnel with large quantities of drugs seized from within,” said DEA Special Agent in Charge John W. Callery. “These tunnels show the determination of drug trafficking organizations to subvert our border controls and smuggle deadly drugs into our community. But these recent tunnel seizures also show the dedication of our amazing partners on the San Diego Tunnel Task Force to locate and shut down these tunnels to keep our communities safe. Despite the current COVID-19 pandemic, DEA employees continue to work tirelessly to serve and protect the community.”

“I’m immensely proud of the dedication and diligence of agents on the task force to shut down this tunnel. Cross-border tunnels represent one of the most significant threats to our national security. Criminal organizations can use these tunnels to introduce anything they want into the U.S. This is especially concerning during a global pandemic,” said Chief Patrol Agent Aaron M. Heitke.

“If cartels keep spending millions of dollars building tunnels, we will keep finding and filling them,” said U.S. Attorney Robert Brewer. “This time, we seized a jaw-dropping $30 million worth of dangerous drugs that aren’t going to reach the streets. This is the most valuable single-day tunnel seizure in recent memory, and it is the largest seizure of multiple drugs in a single tunnel. This takedown is even more significant in the face of a global pandemic, where stopping the movement of unauthorized people and packages across international borders is of utmost importance.” Brewer praised the excellent work of the San Diego Tunnel Task Force in locating and dismantling yet another cross-border drug tunnel, especially the efforts of AUSA Orlando Gutierrez.

Throughout the investigation, the San Diego Tunnel Task Force received substantial support from the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department.

“The Sheriff's Department remains committed to protecting the citizens of San Diego County from the dangers associated with the importation, sales, and use of illegal drugs, as well as the violent crimes associated with them,” said San Diego Sheriff William Gore. “By working collaboratively with agencies like Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), and groups like the Tunnel Task Force, we work tirelessly to achieve this mission. These partnerships are key to achieving these goals. We would like to recognize the hard work and dedication of these detectives and agents who worked tirelessly on this case. We thank them for their efforts.”

The San Diego Tunnel Task Force would like to thank the Government of Mexico authorities for their cooperation in this bi-lateral investigation.

Tunnels like this bring large quantities of dangerous drugs and violence into our communities. Law enforcement often relies on the public’s assistance in identifying the location of these tunnels. Anyone may anonymously report suspicious activity to the Tunnel Task Force at 1-877-9TUNNEL (1-877-988-6635).

11 comments:

  1. Didn't see any arrests of anyone in this article.
    Think a wall would best be fitted constructed beneath than above.

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  2. Technologies for detecting tunnel building go back to WW1. The Vietnam War saw more advances. Now we are @2020 with much more advance technology including "human Intelligence". What are these Mexican smugglers thinking?

    I am willing to bet that the USA actually let's tunneling processes go as far as it want before making a bust. This because in doing so much is learned about all kinds related to the tunnel.
    Mexico-Watcher

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  3. Jaw dropping lmfao right they seized one load out of 100 30 million dollar loads so the cost to build a tunnel in reality cost them nothing and betting on how integrated the cartels are they own every warehouse cross bordering each side for miles its already common knowledge that authorities only seize 1 out of 10! Drug loads so there is still a tidal wave of product 24/7

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I say they catch more like 1 out of like 200 or more..

      Delete
    2. Right, there's no way to really know. They like to boast and toot their own horn but it's obvious based on street prices that they are in a losing battle. I just wish the fentanyl would stop. That trash is poison. It should be obvious that this cat and mouse game will never stop. It has been escalating for decades after decades. It is what it is I guess.

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  4. Ohh that bust - like all the previous zillions of busts - really made a dent in the supply of drugs!

    Well at least it got a bunch of federal employees a promotion and the right to spend another couple million of taxpayer funds on the sham called the 'War On Drugs'.

    Disgusting!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I mentioned this in another post yesterday- but i was in the uscg, and got to see just how these big busts all take place. Most of the time, they know the boats name weeks ahead of time- then they magically come across a shit that has like 5000 keys right out in the open, on the deck-
      Didnt even try to hide the shit. Its all for publicity/more budget money- like everything else in this world, money is what it comes back to

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  5. So what do you say Mr special agent in charge of HSI San Diego Cardell T. Morant and Mr DEA Special Agent in Charge John W. Callery and Mr Chief Patrol Agent Aaron M. Heitke and U.S. Attorney Robert Brewer and Mr San Diego Sheriff William Gore how much money did you spend on this operation and for how long did you halt the flow of drugs into our country???

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's over. You will never see another gram of drugs on our streets again. War on drugs over, cartels BTFO. LOL

      Delete
  6. LA SEÑORA. CAF

    ReplyDelete

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