Man Connected to Border Tunnel Sentenced to 25 Years

Chula Vista man connected to 600-yard tunnel found near Otay Mesa in November 2010

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    NEWSLETTERS

    A Chula Vista man connected to a drug tunnel between San Diego and Tijuana was sentenced Monday to 25 years in prison.

    The 600 yard tunnel under the border between Tijuana and San Diego was discovered in November 2010, along with nearly 30 tons of pot, according to U.S. authorities.

    Border Tunnel Bust Nets 29 Tons of Pot

    [DGO] Border Tunnel Bust Nets 29 Tons of Pot
    A tunnel that runs 600 yards under the border between Tijuana and San Diego has been discovered, along with nearly 30 tons of pot, according to U.S. authorities. (Published Thursday, Nov 4, 2010)

    Fernando Alarid was convicted of charges that included intent to distribute and conspiracy to import marijuana.

    His partner, Pablo Anzaldo-Contreras, was also convicted of similar charges.

    Warehouses on either side of the U.S. border with Mexico connected the tunnel, which had lighting, ventilation and a rail system for sending carts of drugs into the United States.

    The tunnel ended close to California's Otay Mesa port of entry, according to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement spokeswoman Lauren Mack.

    Federal agents found the tunnel after getting a tip that there was one somewhere on Via De La Amistad.

    On Tuesday, they spotted a suspicious looking tractor trailer parked outside an office building.

    "We ultimately decided it wasn't acting right,"said San Diego I.C.E. director John Morton.

    Agents followed the tractor trailer when it left the building and headed north on I-15.  When it reached the border checkpoint near Temecula, agents searched it and found 10 tons of marijuana.

    They obtained a search warrant at the office building on Via De La Amistad and found the tunnel along with 15 tons of pot.  Four more tons were found on the Tijuana side.

    Two people were arrested and will be arraigned on Thursday in federal court.  Agents said the two suspects are a husband and his wife.

    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.

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