U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) officials have found an exquisitely engineered tunnel underneath the U.S.-Mexico border, believed to be the work of Mexico’s Sinaloa Cartel, “the most powerful drug trafficking organization in the world,” according to U.S. Intelligence, reported the Los Angeles Times. DEA officials announced the discovery on Thursday in Yuma, Arizona.
The 755-foot-long passageway, featuring electricity and ventilation, runs 6 feet, 6 inches in height and 4-feet wide. The clandestine passage likely took one year to build and has been in use for at least three months. Officials believe professional engineers were likely involved in the creation of the estimated $1.5 million to $2 million tunnel.
From a defunct ice manufacturing plant behind a strip club in Mexico, the tunnel runs cross-country to a small, undistinguished warehouse on the U.S. side. There, it is hidden beneath a 2,000-gallon water tank removable only by forklift. In Mexico, the tunnel entrance is located underwater, requiring the drainage of a massive tank. On both sides, vertical shafts descend 57 feet to the plywood-lined and -reinforced tunnel.
The tunnel’s existence was exposed last week when 39 pounds of methamphetamine were seized by Arizona state police during a traffic stop on the highway between San Luis and Yuma. Authorities traced the contraband back to the warehouse. According to
special agent Doug Coleman, the discovery of tons of sandy soil stored in 55-gallon drums at the warehouse suggested “there must be a tunnel.”
Thus far, three people, including one U.S. citizen, have been arrested in the case.
It was not determined whether any drugs were successfully trafficked via the recently formed tunnel.
While over the past decade the DEA has located nearly 140 other tunnels along the Mexican border with Arizona and California, Coleman said this one was “an extraordinary piece of engineering.”