NYDN ‘Longest tunnel’ under Mexico border found

World News

Federal agents have found a drug smuggling tunnel they are describing as the longest ever discovered beneath the Mexican border.

The carefully crafted pathway — outfitted with a lift, rail track, drainage and ventilation systems — begins in Tijuana, Mexico, about 250 feet south of the American border. It stretches underground for about three quarters of a mile into San Diego County in California, according to U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

“The sophistication and length of this particular tunnel demonstrates the time-consuming efforts transnational criminal organizations will undertake to facilitate cross-border smuggling,” Cardell Morant, the acting special agent in charge of Homeland Security Investigations said in a statement.

The passageway, first discovered by authorities in August, is about 5 and a half feet high and 2 feet wide. On average, it’s about 70 feet below ground and measures 4,300 feet — or about 14 football fields — long.

Authorities said there was even an elevator at one of the entrances to carry smugglers below ground and onto the trail.

Video from inside the underground passage shows wires hanging from the walls, the remains of what appears to be a wooden shelf and discarded clothing among other debris on the ground.

Customs and Border Protection said their investigation turned up an additional offshoot running about 3,529 feet into the United States but with no opening on the surface or exit.

No drugs were found on the scene and the uncovering of the tunnel has not resulted in any arrests.

“The investigation continues, and I am confident that our hard work and dedication to uphold the law will lead to future arrests and seizures,” Deputy Chief Patrol Agent Aaron Heitke said in a statement.

Prior to the most recent tunnel discovery, the longest passageway into the United States was found in 2014. Also located in San Diego, that underground path extended 2,966 feet.