32 Tons of Pot Seized in Border Tunnel

The estimated street value of the drugs seized was $65 million

By Sarah Grieco
|  Thursday, Dec 1, 2011  |  Updated 9:43 AM PDT
The estimated street value of the drugs seized was $65 million.

The estimated street value of the drugs seized was $65 million.

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A 600-yard border tunnel containing 32 tons of marijuana was found in Otay Mesa Tuesday afternoon, according to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

The estimated street value of the drugs seized was $65 million.

Click here for images from inside the secret tunnel

The tunnel was shut down before smugglers could operate it. Officials said it was the largest amount of drugs associated with a single tunnel.

The tunnel was very sophisticated, according to ICE. Within the wood-floored tunnel was an intricate rail system attached to the floor. The rail used an electric cart to transport narcotics, complete with an elevator on the Mexico side and elaborate wooden stairs on the U.S. side to exit the tunnel.

“All things considered, a highly efficient mechanism to move narcotics in an underground environment,” spokesperson for ICE Derek Benner said.

Agents from the tunnel task force made entry into the warehouse and secured the scene. Two U.S. citizens were arrested in San Diego and four Mexican nationals were apprehended in Los Angeles.

This is the second tunnel discovered in November and the seventh major tunnel found within the last five years.

Earlier this month more than 14 tons of marijuana was seized from another major drug tunnel in Otay Mesa. The tunnel, said to be the length of four football fields, ran between two storage buildings between Tijuana and Otay Mesa.

“We invite the cartels to continue in their futile efforts,” Benner said. “Clearly they don’t understand our resolve and our commitment in stopping these tunnels.”

ICE officials said they are now working to link the tunnel to a cartel or organization.

U.S. Attorney Laura Duffy said drug trafficking will not be tolerated above or below ground.

“If you build it, we will find it," she said. "If we find it, we’ll destroy it."

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