Federal agents have seized a ton of cocaine and seven tons of marijuana smuggled through a clandestine tunnel stretching a half mile beneath the U.S.-Mexico border, the longest one yet unearthed in California, authorities said on Wednesday.
Six people were arrested as authorities in San Diego moved on Monday and Tuesday to shut down the tunnel, the 13th underground passageway discovered along California's border with Mexico since 2006.
The 870-yard-long tunnel, one of the narrowest found in the region, also yielded an unprecedented cache of drugs.
â€œThis is the largest cocaine seizure ever associated with a tunnel," said Laura Duffy, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of California.
The northern end of the tunnel, like most of the others, emerges in a narrow industrial expanse between the Otay Mesa port of entry and the California Highway Patrol's border facility. The area, known for its heavy clay soil, is primarily traversed by trucks hauling tons of legitimate cargo between the two countries every day.
The latest tunnel, excavated 46 feet beneath the surface, ran from the bottom of an elevator shaft built into a house in Tijuana to a hole in the ground on the U.S. side enclosed within a fenced-in lot set up as a pallet business. The hole was concealed under a trailer-sized trash dumpster that smugglers used to move the drugs off the lot, federal officials said.