Cross-Border Tunnel Located in Calexico
SAN DIEGO, CA - DEA Special Agent in Charge John S. Fernandes today announced the discovery of a cross border drug smuggling tunnel located beneath a residence in Calexico, California and extending approximately 400 feet to a residence in Mexicali, Mexico. The tunnel was the focus of an ongoing investigation undertaken by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) in Imperial County, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), the U.S. Border Patrol, and the Calexico Police Department.
The tunnel, approximately twenty feet underground and accessed by a ladder, was equipped with lighting and supported by wooden beams every few feet.
“Today’s discovery is yet more evidence of the desperation that drug traffickers are feeling as law enforcement efforts continue to impede the flow of drugs into the U.S. As I have noted in the past, we continue to thwart drug traffickers’ efforts above ground, forcing these groups underground. As illustrated today by this joint effort, even building a tunnel is not going to make a difference. The DEA and its partners will expose these tactics and bring into the light those responsible”, said Fernandes.
According to ICE, “Whether they are designed to smuggle drugs, people, weapons or other contraband, these tunnels pose a threat to our nation’s security,” said Miguel Unzueta, Special Agent in Charge for ICE investigations in San Diego. “ICE is committed to working with our law enforcement partners to dismantle the tunnels and the criminal organizations behind them.”
U.S. Border Patrol utilized its Special Response Team to make entry into the Calexico residence and also initially secured the tunnel when it was discovered. The U.S. Border Patrol stated, “We will continue to work as a team with the DEA and ICE to bring down anyone involved in using tunnels to smuggle terrorists and their weapons of mass destruction. Further, the U.S. Border Patrol will aggressively pursue anyone trying to smuggle terrorists, humans or drugs into the United States through these tunnels.”
The DEA stated it is unclear at this time which organization or group is responsible for this tunnel, but according to Fernandes, “this is clearly not the effort of one person. A tunnel is an enormous undertaking and those responsible are now on notice - we have found the hole and the DEA is now looking for you.”