Blog dedicated to reporting on Mexican drug cartels
on the border line between the US and Mexico

Thursday, November 4, 2010

San Diego-to-Tijuana Drug Tunnel Uncovered; 25 Tons of Pot Seized

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By Richard Marosi, Los Angeles Times
Federal authorities discovered a tunnel linking drug warehouses in San Diego and Tijuana that led to the seizure of more than 25 tons of marijuana, one of the largest-ever drug seizures in San Diego, officials said.

The 1,800-foot transnational passageway — roughly equivalent to six football fields in length — isn't the longest or the most sophisticated ever built, but it is one of the few instances in which authorities were able to seize drugs on both sides of the border.

The scale of the operation pointed to the work of a major Mexican drug cartel, authorities said, and comes two weeks after Mexican authorities discovered a record 134 tons of marijuana in an industrial area near Tijuana. Officials don't know if there is a connection between the two events, but called this week's discovery another significant blow against organized crime groups.

Authorities estimated the drugs' worth at more than $20 million.

"I can promise you there are some very unhappy people in the cartel," said John Morton, director of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, which leads the multi-agency San Diego Tunnel Task Force.

The investigation was triggered Tuesday afternoon when task force agents patrolling the light industrial area near the Otay Mesa Port of Entry followed a tractor trailer that was acting suspiciously, Morton said.

The truck was stopped at a U.S. Border Patrol checkpoint in Temecula, where agents found about 10 tons of marijuana stuffed in the 53-foot trailer. Two people in the truck, a husband and wife whose identities were not disclosed, were arrested. Agents later raided the warehouse from which the vehicle had departed and discovered another 10 to 15 tons of dope, the bales wrapped in cellophane and on pallets, as if ready for shipping.

Inside a storage closet they found a 3-foot by 4-foot tunnel opening cut into the subfloor. The passageway, featuring lighting, ventilation and a rail system, descends about 20 feet below ground and goes under Via de la Amistadand another warehouse before continuing under the border fence into Mexico.

Mexican soldiers on Wednesday raided a warehouse south of the border and found about 4 tons of marijuana, according to the Mexican military. U.S. authorities wouldn't disclose how the Mexican entry point was found, but agents in past cases have located openings by traversing the entire length of the tunnel.

294253 g

In this case, such a crossing would have been extremely difficult. Officials said the tunnel was only 4 feet high by 3 feet wide. The toil and financing required for such an undertaking was further evidence that above-ground enforcement efforts are forcing cartels to extreme measures to get their drugs across the border, officials said.

The tunnel is one of the few unearthed in recent years that was fully operational. Authorities estimate operators had been smuggling drugs through it for less than one month. About 75 tunnels along the U.S.-Mexico border have been unearthed in the last four years, most of them in various states of construction.

The operation was also notable because of the quick response by Mexican authorities. In past cases, their less-than-prompt actions have allowed tunnel operators in Mexico to clear out the drugs. This time they reacted immediately, which authorities said reflects the much-improved levels of cooperation from security forces in Tijuana, which are led by army Gen. Alfonso Duarte Mugica.

"The Mexicans moved as quickly as we did," Morton said. "It was an example of the coordination needed to be successful."

There were no arrests in either warehouse, and it's unclear who owned the drugs or whether the owners of the facilities were involved. The investigation is ongoing, authorities said.

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  1. Looks like the Federation giving up AFO info for the threats in the narco-banners right? 25 tons is alot of dope!

  2. I read this story earlier in spanish, which stated an anonimous tip led to the discovery of the Tunnel on the Mexican side and Mexican authorities informed the U.S. Authorities
    of the Tunnel Location. now in this story good ole USA Keystone cops are the HJeroes.

  3. HAHA our wires crossed. I posted this just before you posted the article. what Mx press is pissed about is the US not giving Mx Police the credit for this find...Which is true I saw the report on TV and they said US found this tunnel. With all the bad pub Mx gets credit needs to go to them when they have a victory.

    125 tunnels have been found (higher est exist)

  4. There have been a number of seizures in Tijuana/Mexicali lately, ever since the 134 tons the other week, 71 ki's in Mexicali, 685 near Ensenada, 34 tons yesterday. Is it just excess because of harvest season for weed, or something else going on? My guess would be this was a CAF tunnel, because it is older and 'rustic'.


    There has been inuendo and rumour that Hezbollah now has a Mx presence on our so borders. I have been researching this for months and now think it may be true.

    Howevrer, today there is a big story making rounds here in US. An authenicated islamic terrorists video states that they have a business relationship with Mx cartels and plan to use the tunnels to move humans and large qty of antrax enough to kill hundreds of thousands. A part of me thinks why would cartels do that? US would seal the borders? but another part of me says it is looking towards a greater possibilty. If one thinks about it, the tunnels make sense for the terrorists to use.

    Smurf, I saw your post on another blog that you do not believe this, but I wonder your thoughts now? Forget Hezbollah, lets just say collusion between cartel and terroists to this degree. One thing both sides have is unlimited funds to do whatever. Supposedly training of the Mx assasins by terrorists in colombia has taken place

  6. Mexican soldiers, as reported by La Jornada, found the tunnel after an anonymous tip..

    almost 25 tonnes of were MJ seized, 4.49 on the Mexican side in 393 packs, and 20 on The U.S. side.

    In three other distinct raids, more drugs were seized by the Mexican soldiers: 111 packs totaling 685 kilos in Ensenada and 22 packs totaling 200 kilos in Centinela...On Nov 1, another 13 tonnes were seized...

    According to Comcast and American man and his Mexican wife were arrested. The couple were stopped at a Border Patrol checkpoint in Southern California, driving a semi trailer loaded with ten metric tons of pot. The truck had earlier left the warehouse, which agents had under surveillance.

    It is said they would be presented in Federal Court to face trafficking charges today, Thursday.

  7. Personally, I think all that Cartel/terrorist stuff is fear mongering, exaggeration, and half truths.

    Do I think some terrorists are in Mexico? Probably. Is it a massive conspiracy with drug cartels for world dominance or blowing up major American cities? I don't think thats likely at all.

  8. Buela; if this is some kind of muslin terroist and mexican cartel calabuation against the U.S. then all the more to wipe each off the face of the earth. I'm for one tired of people being complacient and passive. Its time we fight back to WIN !!!! The final solution, every man, every woman, every child; even their dog if they have one.

  9. Stupid Teabags, so this is the "New" tactic for Re-election?
    how many of you are out there Running with the same B.S. as Sarah Failin Plants?
    Hisbolah and Chapo.
    coming to git yah

    ooooooooy cukuy!!
    Alahu_alachingada weyes.!

  10. Buela, buela, buela ....

    What the heck are you smoking? Is this your last nightmare? Hezbollah fighters crawling the tunnels to tickle Buela's feet during her sleep?

    With your delirium, you are just encouraging wannabee mass-killers like the intellectually challenged schmuck @ 6:07PM. Or, may be he has a very dark humor? This guy would turn on you and your family in a heartbeat because you are of Mexican ancestry: He said "the final solution". I have heard it some time ago, in another language, about other unfortunate people.

    Just my 2 pfennigs.

  11. Ay Matanzas, you did not fail my prediction, you pulled through for me! Never a way for you to see clearly or entertain a hypothesis, or possible eventuality. All black/white for my amigo. If you read what I wrote I said I was not convinced yet because it is illogical...however even if there is a possibilty we should explore further offensively rather than defensively. what bothers all of us there is not really a good active search to discovers these tunnels, they are mostly ratted out or accidently found. This scenario of possible spill over is different...though it has not happened yet, and I do not call an incident here and there a spillover, and there is not concrete proof of terorrist connection directly at the border yet, we must take it seriously and be prepared, this is at our border so if we proceed in error there will not be a second chance. I almost did not mention Hezbollah in particular and my post should not be taken as such, generalization is better, but I was being true to the reports I have seen and heard.

    You know Matanzas I think maybe you are part of the Hezbollah and you are trying to throw Buela off need to go away so I do not have to wear boots to bed any longer :-)

  12. @J

    Could be...don't know but I am a pragmatic thinker, a devoted student and keep an open mind to the possibilty. I do not use talking points or spins "fear mongering" etc I do study hard solid reports such as a decade worth of World Drug Report and Org Crime World reports to get a factual feel and see trending. That is over a thousand pages. This connection is real, maybe not to the alarmist degree and maybe not even at our border. As I stated VERY clearly it is illogical to me. But to totally discount a possiblity because you think it "fear mongering" is silly.

    I challenge you to tell me where the half truth is. You stated it was "half truth's" so be specific because to discount something with talking points is weak and unfairly dismissive

    @ Ovemex

    Yes I know the Mx press gives credit to Mx for the is the US press that is not even mentioning them giving ICE/DEA all the credit

  13. That post was directed in regards to the terrorist/cartel connection, not you personally. I think the whole thing is grossly exaggerated in the reports that you are reading, and there is little to no connection between the two. I think the half truths, fear mongering are in the material you are reading, and the people who wrote them.

  14. @J
    I did not take it as directed to me, but I always leave an open mind and in this it remains open. I research academic sources before searching media for ops. But when I hear people using catch phrases "fear mongering" or "half truths" I feel cheated not knowing specifics. I am not firm in any resolve but with the new world reports for 2009 released it is clear something is happening. You know the canada tunnels are a concern as well and they have discovered them 6 years ago. These tunnels should be of great concern and for the most part have not agressively been searched for. I can see a possibilty of a collusion hoever my logic says the cartels would have no reason to aid in actions that would seal the border.

  15. Frontera said...
    Buela is correct. The below did not come out in the news, for obvious reasons.
    Many months ago, in the no man lands between Acuna and Ojinaga, up the Rio Grande road that services ranches (and drug routes), a group of 7 men were stopped by a Military convoy. They were dressed and looked like Mexicans, they spoke no English, nor could anyone understand them.

    Finally a message routed through MX to USA higher ups listened to a recording and brought translators MX/USA to the Military compound where they were being held. All 7 were from Yemen…not sure what happened to them thereafter.

  16. You see above, Buela care mia? All the wackos with the "9/11 was an inside job" are here. This is why I'm grateful to be an blond hair/green eyes ethnic German here in the States and not a gas station owner from the middle east. You should have seen what my Christian Lebanese friends went through in 2003 here. Ugly. I had to wear a hood to get my kitchen spices in their store.
    And yes, I'm black and white sometimes in my judgments. Not always. With age and experience from both the European East/Soviet and South/Islamic fronts, I am sometimes snappy with ethnic shortcuts. Sorry if I hurt you, I value your posts therefore I reply. I don't waste what's left of my time with people who don't deserve my attention.
    Mit freundlichen grussen.

  17. @ Matanzas

    Si, yo se...pero, we say nothing? explore nothing? Because extreme thinkers may latch on to an open thought? No, that is confining. I have stated many times, I stay middle of the road to keep an open mind, even after firm resolve as perhaps there is info that can change thinking. I always discount liberal & conservative radical views and rantings, because they are agenda driven and wear blinders. But my friend, we can not control those who use the words/position of others to promote radical thinking. Only way to accomplish that is to "say nothing" & as my mother said "Chivis began talking on a conversational level when she was 9 months...and she has not shut her mouth since"

    About your Lebanese friends, even I must admit I am of the Juan Williams school of reaction. I hate that about myself as I only judge chracter nothing else. When I was a girl my dad told me about Hayato his best friend being taken to a camp guilty of being japanese. You yourself would not have been safe back then with your german name or looks, you would have been shunned and called Nazi.

    I have neighbors that are Egypt and each time I converse with them they make sure I know they are as not to confuse them with terrorist. That is so sad. & my relatives with Buelos blue eyes, spaniard white skin and light hair they were able to pass to swim in public pools, or not be relegated to the balcony at the movies & other forms of segregation. Even those seving in the armed forces when stationed in the south were fearful to use any facility deemed "No coloreds"..even though they could pass.

    @ 8:26

    Stupid? I bow to your intelligence and articulation. Think big there are two borders.

    You did not hurt me and I always enjoy your posts because they come from a good and honorable place. How can I judge a persons thoughts/beliefs when I do not know the history that cultivated such thinking?

    At the end of the day, I have enjoyed getting to have a forum to discuss/challenge ops and narco news. I have been ill for one year now so I was able to devote some time, and it has seeded an interest to do more for Mx, I am opening another office smack in the midst of danger. I no longer will be prevented in going into battle grounds held back by fear.

  18. Take care Buela, we need you.


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