How federal agents tracked drug smugglers to huge tunnel under Mexico border: Security officials tailed thugs to hardware store before raiding house where they found 1,744ft hole from Tijuana to California
- Homeland Security discovered a 1,744 feet long tunnel that connected a home in Tijuana, Mexico to an Otay Mesa, California warehouse
- The underground passageway, which was found Friday, is approximately 61 feet deep with four feet in diameter
- It was located about 300 feet north of the United States-Mexico border wall in Otay Mesa
- The tunnel featured a rail track, walls supported by metal beams, electricity, and a ventilation system
- It was discovered by Homeland Security Investigations agents who were doing surveillance on a National City residence that had been used in March by a criminal gang to stash 28 kilos of cocaine that were smuggled
- Authorities arrested six individuals and charged them with conspiring to distribute 1,762 pounds of cocaine
Federal agents have discovered a tunnel that stretched from a home in the Mexican border city of Tijuana to a southern California warehouse while investigating a local drug smuggling network, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of California said Monday.
The underground passageway, which was found Friday, is approximately 1,774 feet long and 61 feet deep with four feet in diameter. It was located about 300 feet north of the United States-Mexico border wall in Otay Mesa.
The tunnel featured a rail track, walls supported by metal beams, electricity, and a ventilation system.
It was discovered by Homeland Security Investigations agents who were doing surveillance on a National City residence that had been used in March by a criminal gang to stash 28 kilos of cocaine that were smuggled.
A Homeland Security Investigations agent inspects a section of an underground tunnel that was used by a drug trafficking network to smuggle drugs from a home in Tijuana, Mexico to an Otay Mesa, California, warehouse that was located only 300 feet away from the border fence. As part of the investigation, authorities arrested six suspects and seized 1,762 pounds of cocaine, 64 pounds of methamphetamine and three and a half pounds of heroin
The tunnel is estimated to be about 1,744 feet long, 61 feet deep and 4-feet in diameter. It’s walls are protected by metal beams, it has a rail track, electricity and a ventilation system
Federal and state agents inspect the Otay Mesa, California, where an underground tunnel was discovered Friday. The passageway connected with a residence in Tijuana, Mexico, where members of a drug trafficking organization prepared drugs that were sent via the tunnel’s rail tracks
The entrance/exit of a tunnel found under a warehouse in Otay Mesa, California that connected with a home in Tijuana, Mexico and was used to smuggle drugs into the U.S.
The officers spotted Luz de Luna Olmos and Vanessa Ramirez, both of San Diego, driving from the home in a pickup truck at around 11:45 am Friday and stopping at a Harbor Freight Tools store where they removed cardboard boxes from a dumpster. They then proceeded to enter the shop and purchased wheel carts that are normally used to transport heavy items.
The defendants returned to the residence and carried the boxes inside. Olmos left the residence at about 1:20 pm and visited a Walmart store when she bought extra boxes.
Ramirez left the home an hour later and drove to the warehouse in San Diego. She departed the warehouse at approximately 4:40 pm and headed back to the residence as the agents followed her tracks.
Homeland Security Investigations agents ended up stopping five vehicles that came and went from the home, warehouse or both, and seized drug shipments from the cars and the residence.
At least 90 tunnels have been found in the Southern District of California since 1993
The Department of Justice said Homeland Security Investigations agents were able to discover the Otay Mesa tunnel on Friday after midnight due to the surveillance they had carried out in front of a National City residence that had been used in March to stash 28 kilos of cocaine
The agents then searched the warehouse and unearthed the secret tunnel.
Authorities recovered another 1,762 pounds of cocaine, 164 pounds of methamphetamine, and three and a half pounds of heroin.
Mario Jaramillo of Huntington Beach; Adrian Enriquez of Perris, Calif.; Juan Cruz of San Ysidro; and Vanessa Ramirez, Luz de Luna Olmos and Manuel Perez of San Diego were arrested and charge for conspiring to distribute 1,762 pounds of cocaine.
Olmos and Ramirez were also charged with trafficking methamphetamine and heroin.
Each defendant was scheduled to be appear in court for their arraignments on Monday.
Since 1993, at least 90 tunnels have been found in the Southern District of California. The last underground passage was discovered March 2020.
‘There is no more light at the end of this narco-tunnel,’ said U.S. Attorney Randy Grossman. ‘We will take down every subterranean smuggling route we find to keep illicit drugs from reaching our streets and destroying our families and communities.’
The Otay Mesa, California tunnel is the first one that was discovered by federal agents in the Southern District of California since March 2020