Drug tunnel latest: Four arrested, more than one ton of marijuana seized

CALEXICO, Calif. – Federal officials seized a cross-border tunnel this morning following a lengthy multi-agency investigation that resulted in the arrests of four people in California and Arizona and the confiscation of more than a ton of marijuana.

UPDATE: 10:00 p.m.

The tunnel, approximately 415 yards in length, stretches from El Zarape Restaurant in Mexicali, Baja California, Mexico to a three-bedroom, two-bath house, located at 902 E. Third St. in Calexico, Calif., about 300 yards north of the international border. In the front room of the residence, agents found a hole in the floor covered with tile leading to a shaft descending underground.

Three search warrants were served, leading to four arrests. It’s the first completed tunnel in the area in a decade according to Southern California Attorney General Laura Duffy.

According to officials, the tunnel has been operating since February. There were $6 million worth of drugs seized. Officials say this tunnel is not as sophisticated as the ones they’ve seen in the past. Flooding hasn’t allowed investigators to go inside the tunnel to see what they are dealing with.

Marijuana was the only type of drug seized. Two of the people arrested were in Arizona, near Nogales. They were formally charged Wednesday. The two suspects in Imperial County will be arraigned tomorrow in El Centro. No weapons were found inside the tunnel.


UPDATE: 2:20 P.M.

CALEXICO, Calif. – According to the reporters we have at the scene, the tunnel runs from Third Street and Dool Avenue in Calexico to Calle Nicolas Bravo and Avenida Reforma in Mexicali, Mexico.

The tunnel is at a house that sits next to a shack in Calexico. A tunnel was previously found there several years ago.

The press conference has been pushed to 3 p.m.

Keep it on our website for the latest details.


CALEXICO, Calif. – (AP) – U.S. authorities say they have discovered a secret cross-border tunnel in the California desert.

Authorities scheduled a news conference Wednesday afternoon in a residential area of Calexico, a city of about 40,000 people located 120 miles east of San Diego.

A media advisory from federal authorities says the tunnel links Calexico with the large industrial city of Mexicali, Mexico, but provided no details.

Dozens of tunnels designed to smuggle drugs have been found along the U.S.-Mexico border in recent years. Some have been equipped with hydraulic lifts and electric rail cars.

Mexico’s Sinaloa cartel has long controlled drug trafficking along the border in California’s Imperial Valley, which offers easy freeway access to Los Angeles and Phoenix.

Copyright 2016 The Associated Press.

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