By Steve Neavling
Border Patrol officials said Wednesday they discovered the largest drug-smuggling tunnel ever found along the southwest border.
The intricate, bending tunnel stretches more than three-quarters of a mile and features a rail system, forced air ventilation, elevator and a complex drainage system.
The 5-and-a-half-foot tall tunnel begins in an industrial area in Tijuana, Mexico, and meanders more than 4,300 feet into a San Diego neighborhood, CBP said.
“I am thrilled that this high level narco-tunnel has been discovered and will be rendered unusable for cross-border smuggling. I am proud of the tremendous efforts of the Tunnel Task Force and our agents,” Deputy Chief Patrol Agent Aaron M. Heitke said in a news release .
“The sophistication and length of this particular tunnel demonstrates the time-consuming efforts transnational criminal organizations will undertake to facilitate cross-border smuggling,” said Cardell T. Morant, acting special agent in charge of Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) San Diego.
Officials first discovered the tunnel in August.
“As efforts to strengthen security on our Southern Border increase, Mexican drug cartels are forced underground to smuggle their deadly drugs into the United States,” said DEA Special Agent in Charge John Callery. “The sophistication of this tunnel demonstrates the determination and monetary resources of the cartels. And although the cartels will continue to use their resources to try and breach our border, the DEA and our partners on the Tunnel Task Force will continue to use our resources to ensure they fail, that our border is secure, and that tunnels like this are shut down to stem the flow of deadly drugs entering the United States.”