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Drug tunnel bust nets 14 tons of pot at Otay Mesa border crossing

A drug tunnel raid on the U.S.-Mexico border resulted in the seizure of approximately 14 tons of marijuana Tuesday. (Customs Enforcement/Homeland Security)

November 16, 2011 12:00:00 AM PST
A drug tunnel was discovered and raided Tuesday, resulting in the seizure of approximately 14 tons of marijuana on both sides of the U.S.-Mexico border.

The tunnel was found in a warehouse in San Diego near the Otay Mesa Port of Entry, according to the Dept. of Homeland Security (DHS).

Tuesday afternoon, a small cargo truck leaving the warehouse was pulled over by California Highway Patrol officers. Inside the truck, officers found approximately 3 tons of marijuana packed in boxes, according to DHS.

A federal search warrant was subsequently procured for the warehouse, located at 8851 Kearns St. In the warehouse, Tunnel Task Force agents found approximately 6.5 tons of marijuana, and discovered the tunnel.

The tunnel, dug into the warehouse floor, is approximately 4 feet by 3 feet wide, with structural supports, ventilation and electricity. Authorities believe it was recently completed.

Mexican authorities were notified. A warehouse in Tijuana about 400 yards away was raided, and authorities recovered 5 to 6 tons of marijuana, according to DHS.

The Otay Mesa warehouse was under continuing investigation Wednesday.

The Tunnel Task Force is composed of agents and personnel from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Homeland Security Investigations, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, the Drug Enforcement Administration, and the Calif. Bureau of Narcotics Enforcement.

Tuesday's discovery marks the sixth large-scale drug smuggling tunnel in San Diego since 2006, the third within the past year, according to Homeland Security.