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Officials Discover Major Drug Tunnel from San Diego to Mexico

The influx of illicit drugs from Mexico into the United States is nothing new, but recently officials discovered a massive drug-smuggling tunnel underground that connects California and Mexico. Just how long the tunnel has existed and how many illicit substances have gone through this passageway is unknown, but it is a major cause for concern. Residents of the state should be aware of the dangers of these substances entering their community and know that addiction treatment in California is available to help them or a loved one if they need it.

Drug-Smuggling Tunnel from Tijuana to San Diego Discovered

According to a report by the U.S. Attorney’s Office, just after midnight on May 13, 2022, the nearly 1,800-foot drug-smuggling tunnel was discovered by U.S. officials. The underground tunnel connects a home in Tijuana, Mexico to a warehouse in Otay Mesa, California. Otay Mesa is just south of the major city of San Diego, and the warehouse where the tunnel ends is just 300 feet north of the U.S.-Mexico border.

Officials made the discovery after conducting surveillance on a residence in the area that had previously been busted as a cocaine stash house. When cars continued to come and go from the residence to the warehouse, officials became suspicious and searched the warehouse. At this point, the cross-border drug tunnel was discovered carved out of the cement floor. Video and photos show that the 4-foot-wide drug-smuggling tunnel was equipped with reinforced walls, electricity, ventilation, and a rail system to easily transport the illicit substances through the passageway.

Ultimately following the discovery of the drug tunnel from San Diego to Tijuana, 6 people were arrested and officials seized 1,762 pounds of cocaine, 164 pounds of methamphetamine, and 3.5 pounds of heroin.

Drug Smuggling into California

While the San Diego-Tijuana drug tunnel was a major bust for officials, it is not the first time drug cartels have gone to great lengths to smuggle drugs into California and the United States. According to the report from the U.S. Attorney’s Office, 90 drug-smuggling tunnels in Southern California have been discovered since 1993. While alarming, these tunnels are just the beginning.

Because of its location on the U.S.-Mexico border, California is the site of many drug busts and seizures. The 2020 National Drug Threat Assessment (NDTA) reports that the majority of heroin and fentanyl in the United States is smuggled across the Southwest border. Even more alarming, the report also notes that the amount of heroin seized in this area increased by 39% from 2013 to the middle of 2020. This rise suggests that the number of opioids being smuggling into the country has drastically increased in more recent years.

According to NDTA, drugs are smuggled into California in many ways including by car, truck, bus, train, airplane, and underground tunnels. While officials try to catch drug smugglers in the act, the NDTA believes that Mexico will continue to be a primary source of origin for heroin in the United States and that the heroin and fentanyl markets will only continue to grow.

While the outlook for the influx of illicit substances into San Diego and other areas of Southern California isn’t great, there is hope for the future. Opioids and other illicit substances can be addictive, but substance use disorders are treatable. Residents should know that there are rehab centers in San Diego and across California that can help.