Feds Find Massive Border Drug Tunnel Complete With Rail System
Largest pot seizure in California history
Tunnel found under California-Mexico border (DEA)
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement spokeswoman Lauren Mack says authorities seized more than 20 tons of marijuana on the U.S. side of the border -- the largest seizure ever in California and the second largest in the U.S.
Mexican authorities seized another four tons of pot from the warehouse on their side of the border.
The total street value of the marijuana was estimated to be more than $20 million, according to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Director John Morton.
The passageway, equipped with lighting, ventilation and a rail system, is one of the few unearthed in recent years that appears to have been fully operational.
Mack says the tunnel ended close to California's Otay Mesa port of entry.
It stretched the length of about six football fields, but was only tall enough to crawl in.
Authorities say they think it was completed recently.
Officials said the bust operation started Tuesday night, when U.S. authorities watching a warehouse under surveillance followed a tractor-trailer as it left the building.
ICE agents called the California Highway Patrol, whose officers stopped the rig near Temecula. They found 10 tons of marijuana inside and arrested the driver, a U.S. citizen, and his wife, a Mexican citizen.
Authorities then got a warrant to search the warehouse, where they found 10 or 15 more tons of pot and the opening to the tunnel.
Officials have found 125 tunnels since they started recording them in the early 1990s.
Of those, 75 have been found in the past four years, most along the California and Arizona border with Mexico.
The discovery comes two weeks after the Mexican military in Tijuana seized a record 134 tons of marijuana.
Its not clear if the two incidents are connected.