Pubdate: Sat, 05 Apr 2014
Source: Hamilton Spectator (CN ON)
Copyright: 2014 The Hamilton Spectator
Author: Joseph Serna
Note: From the Los Angeles Times


The two new tunnels discovered this past week along the San
Diego-Mexico border mark the sixth and seventh cross-border passages
that authorities have located in the last four years. Officials have
found more than 80 tunnels from California to Arizona since 2006.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents in San Diego announced the
discovery of the two new drug-smuggling tunnels Friday, calling them
sophisticated and elaborate.

On Wednesday, ICE officials arrested a 73-year-old Chula Vista,
Calif., woman on suspicion of overseeing the operation of an
underground tunnel leading under the border to an Otay Mesa industrial
park in San Diego.

On Thursday, they found a second tunnel, which is longer and more
sophisticated than the first.

The busts "eliminated a multimillion-dollar drug smuggling venture and
have reduced it to nothing more than a colossal waste of money on the
part of the drug cartels," said William Sherman, the Drug Enforcement
Administration's San Diego special agent in charge, in a statement.

"Our goal is to not only shut these tunnels down before they become
operational, but to ensure that the cartels backing these elaborate
smuggling operations are investigated and prosecuted."

But the quantity of drugs-if any-that were successfully channeled
through the tunnels is unknown, authorities said. According to the
federal complaint against Glennys Rodriguez of Chula Vista-who is
accused of supervising the pathways-the warehouse where the first
tunnel was found was purchased last May.

The first tunnel was approximately 550 metres long, secured with
wooden trusses and equipped with lighting and a crude rail system. Its
exit on the U.S. side was 70 feet below ground and had a pulley system
for hoisting packages to the surface.

Children's toys were found strewn in the warehouse where the tunnel
ended, officials said.

Agents have found similar settings outside other tunnels they've
uncovered. They say operators hire people to occasionally drop by the
property to make it appear to be a normal business to neighbors,
according to court documents.

The second tunnel was discovered by Mexican authorities on Thursday.
Authorities found that the second tunnel exited just around the corner
from the first and was noticeably more advanced.

The second tunnel was about 640 metres long, had ventilation and a
multi-tiered electrical rail system.

So far, Rodriguez is the only person facing charges, but her criminal
complaint names several other people who authorities believe are
related to the tunnels, including a man who authorities said has been
caught constructing cross-border tunnels before.

Los Angeles Times

[image caption]



This image provided by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement
(ICE) agency shows an agent examining one of two tunnels discovered
April 1, 2014 in San Diego's Otay Mesa industrial park. The first
tunnel, stretching about 600 yards, was discovered on Tuesday.
Authorities say it was equipped with lighting, a crude rail system and
wooden trusses. The other tunnel was discovered Thursday. It's
described as stretching more than 700 yards and more sophisticated,
with an electric rail system and ventilation equipment.
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MAP posted-by: Jo-D