A tremendously long drug smuggling tunnel had tracks, electricity, and ventilation systems

It was more than 1,700 feet long.
Ameya Paleja
An image of the tunnel that was usedUnited States Department of Justice

Elon Musk might just find some people in San Diego to share his enthusiasm to build underground tunnels. U.S. authorities have found a 1,744-foot (531-m) passage connecting a warehouse in San Diego with Tijuana province in Mexico, BBC reported.

While we do accept that Musk's intentions of building tunnels in cities are primarily for decongesting the roads and then pushing for the adoption of his electric cars, we do think that Musk might enjoy the ingenuity of the people who not only built a tunnel across an international border but also equipped it with a rail track, electricity, and ventilation system. 

How was the tunnel found? 

The tunnel was found during the surveillance of a residence in San Diego by Homeland Security after it was used as a stash house in cocaine smuggling in March of this year. According to the federal complaint published on the U.S. Department of Justice's website, two women from the house drove to a tool and equipment retailer and bought wheel carts that are typically used to carry heavy items. 

Prior to this, the women had picked up some large cardboard boxes from the dumpster of the retail store and then later went to Walmart to purchase additional cardboard boxes. All these boxes were transferred into the residence. About an hour later, one of the women drove up to a warehouse located approximately 300-foot (91-m) from the U.S. Mexico Border fence and stayed at the location for over two hours. 

Later, she returned to the house, but in the hours that followed, over five cars visited the house, the warehouse, or both, and when law enforcement agencies stopped these vehicles, the owners were found to be in possession of drugs. 

Not the first tunnel

Homeland Security agents then searched the warehouse and found the sophisticated tunnel system carved out of the cement floor. The four-foot (1-m) wide tunnel was also dug up to a depth of 61-foot (18-m). 

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Tunnels have been extensively used in the state of California to transport drugs across the border. Since 1993, 90 such passages have been found in the state, with the last tunnel uncovered in 2020. At 4,309-foot (1,313-m), it was also the longest tunnel found to date. 

One can only imagine the sheer quantity of drugs that would have been transported through such a large tunnel. On the very occasion when the perpetrators were caught, law enforcement agencies confiscated 1,762 pounds (800 kg) of cocaine, 164 pounds (74.3 kg) of methamphetamine, and 3.5 pounds (1.5 kg) of heroin, the complaint said. 

Six people between the ages of 31-55 have been arrested so far and charged with three felony counts. If found guilty, these individuals could see a minimum sentence of 10 years, while the maximum sentence is life in prison. The charges also come with a fine of a million dollars. 




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