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SAN DIEGO NEWS

DEA Assists with another Super Tunnel; Yields 22 Arrests and 12 Tons of Marijuana So Far

OCT 23 (SAN DIEGO) – The San Diego Tunnel Task Force seized control of a sophisticated cross-border super tunnel last night following a six-month investigation that resulted in the arrests of 22 people in San Diego and Tijuana and the confiscation of 12 tons of marijuana.

The tunnel, approximately eight football fields in length, stretches from a warehouse in Tijuana to the Otay Center Warehouse, located at 2587 Otay Center Drive in San Diego. The passageway is believed to be equipped with lighting, electricity and a rail system and is one of the largest tunnels uncovered along the southern border in recent years.

Isaias Enriquez-Acosta and Isidro Silva-Acosta were arrested and charged in federal complaints this morning with unlawful conspiracy to import a controlled substance and conspiracy to use border tunnels and passages. They are scheduled to make their first court appearances at 2 p.m. today before U.S. Magistrate Judge David Bartick.

Mexican officials reported 16 arrests and the seizure of 10 tons of marijuana at the Tijuana tunnel entrance; San Diego County Sheriff’s officials arrested four people in connection with tunnel activity. Federal authorities here have seized almost two tons of marijuana and counting.

The newly-completed tunnel was discovered as a result of a six-month investigation by the Tunnel Task Force, which includes agents from Homeland Security Investigations, the Drug Enforcement Administration and U.S. Border Patrol. The Task Force began the investigation in May of 2015.
The investigation revealed that a load was about to be moved through the tunnel from Mexico to the U.S. Officials believe this was the first time the tunnel was used to move a significant quantity of drugs.

Silva was taken into custody Wednesday about 5:30 p.m. as about 30 agents from Homeland Security Investigations’ Special Response Team moved to take down the tunnel; Enriquez was arrested at a nearby hotel. In the front room of the Otay Center Warehouse, agents found a hole in the floor about 3-feet in diameter which led to a shaft descending approximately 32 feet down into the ground. The shaft connected to an underground tunnel leading towards the U.S.-Mexico border. Agents saw plastic-wrapped marijuana bundles stacked inside the tunnel.

The marijuana seized in connection with the tunnel has an estimated street value of nearly $6 million. The tunnel dismantled Wednesday is the 10th large-scale drug smuggling tunnel discovered in the San Diego area since 2006. In the last five years, federal authorities have detected more than 75 cross-border smuggling tunnels, most of them in California and Arizona.

AGENCIES

Tunnel Task Force, including agents from Homeland Security Investigations, Drug Enforcement Administration and U.S. Border Patrol


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