Entrance to the tunnel found in Mexicali. Entrance to the tunnel found in Mexicali.

3 arrested at scene of 700-meter-long Mexicali drug tunnel

The unfinished tunnel was headed towards a commercial center in Calexico, California

Three men were arrested Sunday in Mexicali, Baja California, after security forces discovered drugs and a border tunnel between the city and Calexico, California.

The men were arrested as they unloaded packages from a dump truck at a home located in the Santa Clara neighborhood about 130 meters from the border.

Upon further inspection, state police and soldiers found 460 grams of methamphetamine, along with an AK-47 assault rifle, and located an unfinished 700-meter-long tunnel inside the home. It led towards a commercial center in Calexico.

Police had initiated patrols in the area after they were tipped off to suspicious activity in the neighborhood.

They also found sacks containing soil in a bedroom of the house. Officials believe the truck was being used to carry away the soil from the tunnel, which was one of the longest found in Baja California.

The case of a tunnel following a similar route concluded yesterday in a United States court.

U.S. authorities discovered that tunnel in 2016 and seized US $1 million worth of marijuana and $22 million worth of cocaine.

The tunnel was equipped with ventilation, electricity and an elevator that could hold 10 people.

Officials said it was the first time on record that drug traffickers had built a house for the purpose of concealing a drug tunnel.

Manuel Gallegos Jiménez, 48, pleaded guilty to conspiracy in a San Diego court and was sentenced to 10 years in prison.

Source: Milenio (sp), Associated Press (en), La Crónica (sp)

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