Drug Tunnels With Railways Found At U.S.- Mexico Border

By McCarton Ackerman 04/08/14

A 73-year-old woman was arrested in connection with an elaborate series of tunnels running from Tijuana to San Diego.

drug tunnel.jpg
A U.S. customs agent enters one of the two tunnels
discovered in San Diego.
Photo via

Two elaborate drug tunnels complete with railway systems for moving contraband have been discovered near the U.S.-Mexico border. The so-called San Diego Tunnel Task Force had been conducting a five month-long investigation before discovering the two tunnels in San Diego-area warehouses. A 73-year-old woman was arrested and has been accused of running one of the warehouses connected to a drug smuggling operations.

The two tunnels displayed a stark contrast in quality and functionality. The first tunnel, which connected a warehouse in Tijuana, Mexico, with one in an industrial park in the border community of Otay Mesa, was furnished with basic lighting, a crude rail system, and wooden trusses. The second tunnel had a multi-tiered electric rail system and a variety of ventilation equipment. Both tunnels were several hundred yards long and included a pulley system on the U.S. side that was apparently used to lift drug contraband into the warehouse.

"Here we are again, foiling cartel plans to sneak millions of dollars of illegal drugs through secret passageways that cost millions of dollars to build," said U.S. Attorney Laura Duffy in a statement. "Going underground is not a good business plan. We have promised to locate these super tunnels and keep powerful drug cartels from taking their business underground and out of sight, and once again, we have delivered on that promise.”

Although these are the first tunnels with elaborate railway systems to be discovered, using underground tunnels as a means of smuggling drugs across the border is hardly a new concept. Since 2006, federal authorities have found more than 80 cross-border smuggling tunnels and seized over 100 tons worth of narcotics. Seven of those tunnels have been discovered in the San Diego area since 2010. The 400-yard drug portal found by authorities in November 2011 that linked San Diego with Tijuana also featured the image of Captain America on the plastic wrapping of most bricks of the 17 tons of marijuana seized.

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McCarton Ackerman is a freelance writer and editor living in Portland, Oregon. He has been a contributor for The Fix since October 2011, writing on a wide range of topics ranging from medical marijuana in Colorado to the world's sexiest drug smugglers. Follow him on Linkedin and Twitter.