Mexico's Sinaloa cartel is behind an illicit “super tunnel” that led from a building in an industrial area of Tijuana near the U.S. border fence to a warehouse just west of the Otay Mesa, Ca., port of entry, the San Diego Union-Tribune reports. Measuring one-third of a mile, the passageway followed a zig-zagging path and was equipped with lighting, ventilation and an electric rail system. Its discovery comes two years after two other major drug tunnels were found in the same area, and it marks the fifth “super tunnel” shutdown since 2010, said San Diego U.S. Attorney Laura Duffy.
“These are structurally sound and structurally engineered tunnels,” Duffy said. “They're built by architects and engineers … it's a very labor-intensive, sophisticated, high-tech operation.” Three suspects were arrested, and more than 17,000 pounds of marijuana and about 327 pounds of cocaine were seized, with a combined street value of $12 million. The tunnel was closed “before it became operational and before it could be exploited,” said Derek Benner, agent in charge of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's Homeland Security Investigations team in San Diego. “We are by no means finished here,” Benner added. “Investigators are going to keep pursuing these folks up the chain and ultimately hold accountable those who are financing these operations, who are planning them, the designers behind them.”