Friday, 22 February, 2019

Drug bust leads to cross-border tunnel

Homeland Security Investigations Video showed the tunnel walls lined with wooden planks
Leonard Rios | 26 August, 2018, 18:29

Authorities say the tunnel was found at an abandoned Kentucky Fried Chicken located at 552 San Luis Plaza Drive in San Luis, Arizona.

On August 13, police arrested a man, identified as Iván López, and found 370 pounds of narcotics hidden inside a toolbox, according to Univision. The fentanyl alone equaled three million dosage units, HSI's Special Agent in Charge Scott Brown said.

Two days after the initial arrest, a full search of the vacant fast food restaurant was conducted, and the entrance to the tunnel was found inside.

Federal authorities the uncovered the 590 ft. long tunnel which, according to a release by the Yuma County Sheriff's Office, is 22 ft. deep from the surface.

The tunnel opening in the building only measured 8 inches in diameter.

Authorities believe the narcotics smuggled were pulled up with a rope.

The tunnel is lined with 2-by-4s, along with thinner planks of wood that resemble fence posts, for nearly the entirety of its 590-foot span, the video shows. Soon enough, they were led to a 600-foot tunnel running all the way to a private home in Mexico - starting in a former KFC.

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These tunnels, it continues, are nearly always used for getting drugs - like the meth, cocaine, heroin and fentanyl Lopez was allegedly caught with - from Mexico to the U.S.

Though unusual in its placement, this is not the first discovery of illicit drug tunnels connecting the bordering nations, beneath the scrutinizing eye of law enforcement.

Officials are still accessing to see how long the tunnel had been in operation.

In 2016, authorities discovered a almost half-mile tunnel running between Otay Mesa, California, and Tijuana, Mexico.

Court records state that Lopez bought the abandoned KFC building, which sits around 200 yards north of the Mexican city of San Luis Colorado, in April, paying $390,000 in cash, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports.

Police made a decision to investigate and were amazed to find a 600ft drug-smuggling tunnel.

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