U.S. authorities announced the discovery of a major drug smuggling tunnel - running about the length of six football fields - from Mexico to a warehouse in an industrial area in the U.S, the Associated Press reports. The secret passage from Tijuana to San Diego featured rail and ventilation systems, electricity and reinforced walls. Its location near San Diego's Otay Mesa border is in an area where more than a dozen other sophisticated tunnels have been found in the last two decades. Authorities do not know how long the tunnel has been operating and what amount of drugs, if any, got through undetected. They seized 1,762 pounds of cocaine, 165 pounds of meth and 3.5 pounds of heroin in connection with the investigation.
The tunnel is in one of the most fortified stretches of the border, illustrating the limitations of border walls. While considered effective against small, crudely built tunnels called “gopher holes,” walls are no match for more sophisticated passages that run deeper underground. The tunnel exited the U.S. in a nondescript warehouse on a street that is busy during the day, but quiet at night. Authorities raided the warehouse after seizing boxes full of cocaine through traffic stops of vehicles that had been there or at another warehouse near the border. No drugs were found in the warehouse, just a tunnel opening carved into the cement floor with a ladder peeking out.