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Drug tunnel discovered on California-Mexico border

Authorities say they have discovered a large tunnel that connects the U.S. to Mexico that would have been used for smuggling drugs across the border. The lengthy tunnel was fully built with electrical fixings and a rail system. It was considered to be a sophisticated system for trafficking drugs.

The tunnel is about 600 yards long and lead from a San Diego warehouse to a Tijuana location. The U.S. end of the tunnel was in the Otay Mesa industrial area of the California city, which authorities said would have made it easier to hide vehicles as they were being loaded with marijuana and cocaine. Approximately 327 pounds of cocaine and 8.5 tons of marijuana were seized after the tunnel was discovered. Three men, believed to be drivers, were taken into custody and charged with possession of cocaine and marijuana with intent to distribute.

The U.S. Border Patrol has made it more difficult to move drugs on land, so the Mexico-based cartels have turned to small fishing boats, light aircraft and tunnels. The drug cartels prefer San Diego because the soil is soft clay and easy to dig in. This most recent tunnel shutdown occurred before any drugs made it through. Federal authorities had the San Diego facility under surveillance after informants revealed that the owners had purchased construction equipment and drills.

During large-scale drug raids, police can sometimes take into custody people unconnected to a drug operation who were in the wrong place at the wrong time. It's the burden of the prosecution to prove that everyone they accuse is guilty. Without substantial evidence to link an individual to the trafficking case, the charges against them may be dropped.

Source: Huffington Post, "Massive Drug Tunnel Found On U.S. Border With Mexico", Elliot Spagat, October 31, 2013

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