April 5, 2014 in Nation/World

Two drug tunnels found near San Diego

Associated Press
 
Associated Press photo

Border law enforcement agents examine one of two tunnels discovered April 1 in San Diego’s Otay Mesa industrial park.
(Full-size photo)

SAN DIEGO — Two drug-smuggling tunnels with rail systems stretching hundreds of yards across the U.S.-Mexico border were discovered by law enforcement officials, and a 73-year-old woman was charged with helping run one operation, federal authorities said Friday.

No contraband was found in connection with the tunnels, which linked warehouses in Tijuana, Mexico, and the Otay Mesa area of San Diego, according to a statement from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations.

The first tunnel, stretching about 600 yards, was discovered Tuesday. It was described as being equipped with lighting, a crude rail system and wooden trusses.

The entrance on the U.S. side is inside a warehouse where a cement cap covered a 70-foot shaft. A pulley system was installed to hoist goods into the building, which was filled with children’s toys and boxes of televisions.

The other tunnel, located Thursday, stretches more than 700 yards and was built with more sophisticated features including a multi-tiered electric rail system and ventilation equipment.

On Wednesday, investigators with the San Diego Tunnel Task Force arrested Glennys Rodriguez from the San Diego suburb of Chula Vista.

The U.S. attorney’s office has charged her with conspiracy to maintain a drug-involved premises. It wasn’t immediately clear whether she had obtained an attorney.

The tunnels were the sixth and seventh found in the area in less than four years, ICE said.

U.S. Attorney Laura Duffy said the discoveries foiled cartel plans to sneak large quantities of drugs across the border.

On Friday along the Arizona-Mexico border, federal authorities shut down an incomplete drug-smuggling tunnel in Nogales.

A task force developed information that a tunnel was being constructed inside a residence in Nogales, Sonora.

That’s just a few yards south of the international border fence near the Mariposa Port of Entry in Nogales, Ariz.

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