U.S. authorities have discovered a huge tunnel in a Mexican border town that was equipped with an electric hoist, ventilation and even a rail system.

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement representatives and Mexican officials discovered the 183-foot-long dig in the city of Mexicali in the Mexican state of Baja California, close to the U.S. border city of Calexico, California.

The tunnel was 22 feet underground and about 4 feet-by-3 feet wide, according to the agency. “These types of tunnels enable drug traffickers to conduct illicit activities virtually undetected across the U.S.–Mexico border,” said Cardell T. Morant, special agent in charge the U.S. Department of Homeland Security in San Diego.

One end of an extensive tunnel that sought to connect Mexico and California was recently unearthed by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents. (U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement/Zenger)

The tunnel was not yet finished and fell just 3 feet short of the border wall with the U.S.

“Discovering and shutting down these tunnels deals a major blow to drug trafficking organizations because it denies them the ability to smuggle drugs, weapons and people across the border,” Morant said.

It is unclear if any suspects have been arrested in connection with the tunnel or any drug-related crimes.

Other drug-related enforcement actions in the region include the July 27 sentencing of Luz Irene Fajardo Campos, a Mexican national aligned with the Sinaloa Cartel, according to the Department of Justice. She was sentenced in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia to 22 years in prison for her role in an international drug-trafficking conspiracy.

“With this sentencing, we cut the head off of the snake,” said Cheri Oz, special agent in charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration’s Phoenix Field Division.

The U.S. Border Patrol in January 2020 also exposed the longest illicit cross-border tunnel ever discovered along the Southwest border.

A view down into a tunnel that was to connect Mexico and California to smuggle drugs. (U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement/Zenger)

In discovering the latest tunnel, Homeland Security Investigations thanked the Mexican government for its cooperation in the ongoing investigation. It also asked the public to anonymously report any tunnels to their Tunnel Task Force at 1-877-9TUNNEL (1-877-988-6635).

The investigations unit is the main investigative arm of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

The organization is “responsible for investigating transnational crime and threats, specifically those criminal organization that exploit the global infrastructure through which international trade, travel and finance move, according to the immigration and customs website.

The investigative unit’s workforce counts more than 7,100 special agents assigned to 220 cities throughout the United States, and 80 overseas locations in 53 countries.

Edited by Fern Siegel and Matthew B. Hall

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