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Authorities Uncover Sophisticated Tunnel Linking US, Mexico

  • VOA News

U.S. officials have disrupted a major drug smuggling operation by shutting down a sophisticated tunnel linking warehouses in San Diego and Tijuana, Mexico.

Federal officials say three arrests have been made and they're targeting more suspects.

Police say they confiscated a large stash of marijuana and cocaine from the tunnel, which is equipped with an electronic rail system and elaborate electrical and ventilation systems.

"This was the third one since 2011; we found them all before they could successfully get any drugs into the United States… Their traditional roots, their methods through the [point of entry] are failing at this point, they're very desperate; they're doing whatever they can to get into the U.S.," said William Sherman, a special agent for the Drug Enforcement Administration.

Laura Duffy, U.S. Attorney for Southern California, said law enforcement also have their sights on the leaders behind the sophisticated drug smuggling operations.

"We've had great success in discovering and shutting down these tunnels, but we're going after the management now as well. In February of 2012, we charged Jose Sanchez-Villalobos, who is identified in court documents as one of the senior lieutenants of the Sinaloa Cartel with building, financing and operating two of the super tunnels that we've mentioned. One was discovered in November 2010 and the other precisely a year later," said Duffy.

Officials say that more than 75 tunnels have been discovered since 2008 linking the southwestern U.S. with Mexico.

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